John Patrick Shanley:
On Eugene O’Neill and William Kennedy and a Reading from Long Day’s Journey into Night

And O’Neill, the same, tormented almost more by the dead than the living…that these ghosts would not let him alone. And that sometimes when I write, I write silly stuff about fairies and things like that to escape from the torment that it is to be alive, and sometimes—and it doesn’t work, you know, that stuff really is sort of bad writing—and then sometimes I’m just like, “Well, geez, I’m just gonna write about what’s going on and what I feel.” And people say, “That’s very good. That was good.” And I’m like, “I don’t even want that to be good. I want the other stuff to be good. I want to escape!”

They asked me to read one of the climatic speeches from Long Day’s Journey into Night, even though I’m a writer rather than an actor. But that’s what it’s about, that’s what this speech is about. It’s the young guy, it’s Edmund [O’Neill’s most autobiographical character], talking to his dad…[reads]