I came across this in Andre Gregory’s preface to the screenplay of one of my favorite films My Dinner With Andre.
A few weeks ago I had dinner with Twyla Tharp in her kitchen, and we were talking about the problems of the artist, or for that matter the individual, maturing in our society. Why do we have so few mature artists? Trying to answer this question, we be began to speculate that your early years, say your twenties, should be all about learning — learning how to do it, how to say it, learning to master the tools of your craft; having learned the techniques, then your next several years, say your thirties, should be all about telling the world with passion and conviction everything that you think you know about your life and your art. Meanwhile, though, if you have any sense, you’ll begin to realize that you just don’t know very much — you don’t know enough. And so the next many, many years, we agreed, should be all about questions, only questions, and that if you can totally give up your life and your work to questioning, then perhaps somewhere in your mid-fifties you may find some very small answers to share with others in your work. The problem is that our society (including the community of artists) doesn’t have much patience with questions and questioning. We want answers, and we want them fast.
My Dinner With Andre uses some of the experiences of my six years out of the theater as foundation stones for a work which is made up entirely of questions and which I would like to dedicate to all artists and otherwise, who are out on the road somewhere wandering, with no destination anywhere in sight, almost forgetting why they ever set out in the first place, yet still unable to turn back, because they honestly believe that the shortest distance between two points just may not be a straight line.