May 8, 2008
Katharine Hepburn’s Me is another autobiography I have read over and over again.
Something about her story, like Lillian Hellman‘s, I find fascinating. A style icon whose attitude inspires more than her trousers do. I seem to find more nuances with every re-reading, as I change myself I feel like I uncover a fraction of understanding, as Hepburn puts it, life. Life!
Like Hellman, Hepburn is the very essence of herself, and embodies contradictions. Being both terribly self conscious yet instinctively outspoken. Somehow feeling both womanly and boyish. Independent and dependent at the same time. Veering awkwardly between being unaware and too aware. Being drawn to something, a calling. I identify with all of this. A troublesome need to be myself, to find myself, to do something I am compelled to do by feeling and not reason.
At the end of the book I am left with is a sense that I am still so young, there is so much ahead of me and so much I don’t understand. That it is important to forge ahead through the fear, survive the inevitable failures, and reap the rewards of risk. Her story about “The Lake” strikes close to the bone. The mistakes made from pride, the despair of failure – and yet finding the will to persevere and recover, the lasting lessons learned and never forgotten. Yes, even movie legends have flaws, and so do I. Yes, I can learn, and I will try.
She cites one of her father’s favourite quotes, from George Bernard Shaw. I’ve copied the bit that sticks with me here.
This is the true joy in life … the being a force of nature instead of … complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
Paddle your own canoe. Life. Life!