Marian Seldes: We Have To Believe

From a conversation between Marian Seldes and James Grissom
New York City

Let them make fun of me. I don't care; I don't mind. I can't give an ounce of my energy or a square of my mind to how they feel about me, unless I've hurt them or neglected them. What was that great quote Tennessee [Williams] gave you about Eli [Wallach]? He had learned how to truly piss people off by being happy. And this is true. So many people are unhappy, and entirely by their own design. Students used to come to me prepared to fail; prepared to be the 'wrong' type. So much of what I did was to teach them to hold themselves dearly, as I was taught. To recognize that all of us are unique. To understand that there are no limits on anything, and no one takes anything from you with a role or with success or with happiness, unless you believe that there is a pile of such things located somewhere, away from you, and these other people are taking what you think you deserve. We can only lose time and our own peace of mind, and those we throw away: No one takes them from us.

We have to believe that we belong here, and we have to make ourselves into people who deserve to be seen and heard. Good luck is manufactured within--it's sort of what I think other people call a soul. A desire and a gift and a generous heart combine to bring us what we need, and then we give it away. It's best, I think, to give everything away, to wake up empty, and to begin again.

It is a lie that we can't do what we should. It is a lie to let the unhappiness of others stain our own happiness. Recognize fear as a lie, always. It is about nothing at all. It has nothing to do with you.

©  2018  James Grissom


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