Elizabeth Taylor On Vast Limitation

Interview with James Grissom
Hotel Carlyle
New York

Nothing prevents or postpones the tragedies of life--the boring necessities, the irritations, the loneliness. Everyone in the world wonders if they're worthy, if they're loved. Everyone wonders how much more time is on the clock--the clock of life, of youth, of anything. The world wants you to believe that there is vast limitation. Can limitation be vast? Well, the idea of limitation is vast.

What Tennessee and I shared was a morbid sense of time, and the way it was having its way with us, and the way we could trump it--for a time. You make yourself valuable and useful, and I have known this--not always in a healthy way--since I was a child. You make yourself valuable by what you bring to the world, to a moment, to each person. Your time then improves, and the vast limitation shrinks a bit.

Tennessee sent you to ask if he had mattered. I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't send someone to ask if I mattered: I go out myself and ask, through my actions, if I matter, if I'm helping, if I can do anything, if I've earned another day on the planet.

That's where Tennessee and I were different. Loved the man, and God knows I understand the question, but never in a million years would I have asked it of someone else or sent someone to ask it.

You have to show up to matter, and you have to ask the hard questions yourself.


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