If I could, Sister James, I would certainly choose to live in innocence. But innocence can only be wisdom in a world without evil. Situations arise and we are confronted with wrongdoing and the need to act.
There is some level on which this life must occasionally become repugnant and unappetizing to you and you must step back from it. And then you have a new relationship with it, and then you step back into it from a different angle - with a new appetite - and then you find the next leg of your journey.
Playwriting is the last great bastion of the individual writer. It's exciting precisely because it's where the money isn't. Money goes to safety, to consensus. It's not individualism.
I'm Irish as hell: Kelly on one side, Shanley on the other. My father had been born on a farm in the Irish Midlands. He and his brothers had been shepherds there, cattle and sheep, back in the early 1920s. I grew up surrounded by brogues and Irish music, but stayed away from the old country till I was over 40. I just couldn't own being Irish.
I've been writing plays since the seventies and only came to moviemaking when I basically realized that I needed some money to pay the rent. I started to watch films with an eye to figuring out how to write them.
You have to live in order to have something to write about - you get caught up in moviemaking and celebrities and money, and it's very intoxicating, but it doesn't give you what you need as a writer. You have to do something else for that.