from Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, and Other Things I’ve Learned by Alan Alda

When I started out as an actor, I thought, Here’s what I have to say; how shall I say it? On M*A*S*H, I began to understand that what I do in the scene is not as important as what happens between me and the other person. And listening is what lets it happen. It’s almost always the other person who causes you to say what you say next. You don’t have to figure out how you’ll say it. You have to listen so simply, so innocently, that the other person brings about a change in you that makes you say it and informs the way you say it.

The difference between listening and pretending to listen, I discovered, is enormous. One is fluid, the other is rigid. One is alive, the other is stuffed. Eventually, I found a radical way of thinking about listening. Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you. When I’m willing to let them change me, something happens between us that’s more interesting than a pair of dueling monologues. Like so much of what I learned in the theater, this turned out to be how life works, too.

From Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, and Other Things I’ve Learned by Alan Alda

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7 Responses to from Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, and Other Things I’ve Learned by Alan Alda

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    This is kinda profound. I love this guy.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I had the hugest crush on him as a kid! I’ve always gone for the charming, sarcastic type. :)

  2. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads
    says:

    I always liked him too. Great quote — makes me want to read the book.

  3. irene says:

    I too love Alan Alda, maybe I’ll read something some day, I’m in a reading rut, haven’t cracked open a book all week.

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