— Sterling Hayden
Book III : Exile from Oblivion, Ch. 28
Kontekst: The sun beats down and you pace, you pace and you pace. Your mind flies free and you see yourself as an actor, condemned to a treadmill wherein men and women conspire to breathe life into a screenplay that allegedly depicts life as it was in the old wild West. You see yourself coming awake any one of a thousand mornings between the spring of 1954, and that of 1958—alone in a double bed in a big white house deep in suburban Sherman Oaks, not far from Hollywood.
The windows are open wide, and beyond these is the backyard swimming pool inert and green, within a picket fence. You turn and gaze at a pair of desks not far from the double bed. This is your private office, the place that shelters your fondest hopes: these desks so neat, patiently waiting for the day that never comes, the day you'll sit down at last and begin to write.
Why did you never write? Why, instead, did you grovel along, through the endless months and years, as a motion‑picture actor? What held you to it, to something you so vehemently professed to despise? Could it be that you secretly liked it — that the big dough and the big house and the high life meant more than the aura you spun for those around you to see?
Hayden's wild," they said. "He's kind of nuts — but you've got to hand it to him. He doesn't give a damn about the loot or the stardom or things like that — something to do with his seafaring, or maybe what he went through in the war..."
Sure you liked it, part of it at least. The latitude this life gave you, the opportunity to pose perhaps; the chance to indulge in talk about “convictions — values — basic principles.” Maybe what kept you from writing was the fact that you knew it was tough. Maybe what held you to to acting was the fact that you couldn't lose — not really lose, because you could not be considered a failure if you had not set out to succeed... and you made it quite plain that you didn't give a damn.
And yet, you did hate it. Perhaps you were weak, that's all. You hated it because you knew you were capable of far more. You hated the role of an actor because, in the final analysis. an actor is only a pawn — brilliant sometimes, rare and talented, capable of bringing pleasure and even inspiration to others, but no less a pawn for that: a man who at best expresses the yearnings and actions of others. Could it be that you thought too much of yourself — that you could not accept sublimating yourself to a mold conceived by others, anyone else on earth?