Marlon Brando: Running Fervently

Photograph by Serge Balkin/1948

By Telephone

I think you should spend your life for a certain section of time running fervently, looking slightly up--your face like a cup;  like a hungry bird--asking for and taking the advice and the images and the criticism of any number of people who have made the run before. I also think, however, that while you're looking up and running along, you should also look straight ahead and decide where you're headed. What is your destination? Where the hell are you going? It's also good to just stop dead in your tracks and see where you've been and where you landed. My point is this: At some point you're going to stop looking up or around or below for the advice and counsel and stroking of others and do your own damned work. Learn all you can and fold it into the batter of your psyche, your experience, your desires.

If you have liked or admired anything I've done--or anyone else--it has been work that was extruded from and through our singular personalities and experience. It was mine; it was what I had made of the material. And everyone must do this. Every single human being, whether they act or write or sing or live or fuck or walk around gaily talking to others. Everything must be yours--very personal and entirely your own.

Doing this will take a toll. It upsets the mediocre and the safe--which is to say the majority. But if you give a damn about doing good work, about making things that matter, about allowing what you love to persevere, then you have to run straight out and away from everything but your own heart, your own emotional inventory, and do what only you can do.

© 2013 James Grissom
From Artistic Suicide


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