by Patricia Grandjean
Mar 22, 2012
10:39 AMBox Office
Q&A Web Exclusive: Shirley MacLaine
(page 5 of 5)
Your latest book, this year's I'm Over That: And Other Confessions, is your thirteenth. Does writing become more challenging as you go along, or is it something you're increasingly comfortable with?
Writing never becomes more comfortable. It's difficult. But I like to be alone, and I like to sit in my office and do it. When I write, it's either four pages a day or four hours a day. I'm a dancer, so I discipline myself, and that's what i deliver. I've done 20 pages in four hours, and I've done half a page—it goes either way.
How does the "dancer's discipline" permeate the rest of your life?
I'm very dependable, I do what I say I'll do. I've danced en pointe with a broken ankle. I'm not a diva—I can't stand that. On the other hand, I can't stand inefficiency in other people: people who don't work as hard as they can, who are just goldbricking. I can't bear that.
You've been involved in a number of political causes over the years—I know you were active in George McGovern's presidential campaign. What do you think of our current chief executive?
[laughs] Well, I think the poor guy inherited something nobody can do anything with. It's just overwhelming, what can I say? Although the world is overwhelming, and I think we're going to have to develop a new set of values for ourselves. It's not just a matter of "what is Obama doing for the fate of America," but what about the world? I like the fact that he seems like a citizen of the world. Sometimes he seems more comfortable at the Brandenburg Gate than a Midwestern barbecue.
Definitely a change from the message of his predecessor.
Well, I don't know what his message was—I'd like to get into that DNA and study it from a metaphysical perspective.