I just don’t want to dodge any of it. I just want to stand there, shirt open, and take my hits and see, and see

(Many) Excerpts from a remarkable interview where Brad Pitt Talks Divorce, Quitting Drinking, and Becoming a Better Man (GQ: May 3, 2017):

Pitt is the first one to acknowledge that it’s been chaos these past six months…he seems absolutely locked in one moment and a little twitchy and forlorn in the next, having been put on a journey he didn’t intend to make but admits was “self-inflicted.” …Any of my foibles are born from my own hubris… I often say the wrong thing, often in the wrong place and time. Often. In my own private Idaho… I don’t have that gift. I’m better speaking in some other art form. I’m trying to get better. I’m really trying to get better. […]

I can’t remember a day since I got out of college when I wasn’t boozing or had a spliff, or something. Something. And you realize that a lot of it is, um—cigarettes, you know, pacifiers. And I’m running from feelings. I’m really, really happy to be done with all of that. I mean I stopped everything except boozing when I started my family. But even this last year, you know—things I wasn’t dealing with. I was boozing too much. It’s just become a problem…Don’t want to live that way anymore… And I’m really happy it’s been half a year now, which is bittersweet, but I’ve got my feelings in my fingertips again. I think that’s part of the human challenge: You either deny them all of your life or you answer them and evolve…

You strip down to the foundation and break out the mortar. I don’t know. For me this period has really been about looking at my weaknesses and failures and owning my side of the street…I don’t know where it comes from, this hollow quest for justice for some perceived slight. I can drill on that for days and years. It’s done me no good whatsoever. It’s such a silly idea, the idea that the world is fair. And this is coming from a guy who hit the lottery, I’m well aware of that. I hit the lottery, and I still would waste my time on those hollow pursuits. […]

That’s it! Sitting with those horrible feelings, and needing to understand them, and putting them into place. In the end, you find: I am those things I don’t like. That is a part of me. I can’t deny that. I have to accept that. And in fact, I have to embrace that. I need to face that and take care of that. Because by denying it, I deny myself. I am those mistakes. For me every misstep has been a step toward epiphany, understanding, some kind of joy. Yeah, the avoidance of pain is a real mistake. It’s the real missing out on life. It’s those very things that shape us, those very things that offer growth, that make the world a better place, oddly enough, ironically. That make us better. […]

If I’m not creating something, doing something, putting it out there, then I’ll just be creating scenarios of fiery demise in my mind…And so I’ve been going to a friend’s sculpting studio, spending a lot of time over there. My friend [Thomas Houseago] is a serious sculptor. (So you’re making stuff?) Yeah, I’m making stuff. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ten years. …I’m making everything. I’m working with clay, plaster, rebar, wood. Just trying to learn the materials. You know, I surprise myself. But it’s a very, very lonely occupation. There’s a lot of manual labor, which is good for me right now. A lot of lugging clay around, chopping and moving and cleaning up after yourself. But I surprise myself. Yesterday I wasn’t settled. I had a lotta chaotic thoughts—trying to make sense of where we are at this time—and the thing I was doing wasn’t controlled and balanced and perfect. It came out chaotic. I find vernacular in what you can make, rather than giving a speech. I find voice there, that I need. […]

It just keeps knocking. I’m 53 and I’m just getting into it. These are things I thought I was managing very well. I remember literally having this thought a year, a year and a half ago, someone was going through some scandal. Something crossed my path that was a big scandal—and I went, “Thank God I’m never going to have to be a part of one of those again.” […]

You have to wrap your stuff up at night and bring order back to your chaos for the next day. I find it a great opportunity for the introspection. Now you have to be real careful not to go too far that way and get cut off in that way. I’m really good at cutting myself off, and it’s been a problem. I need to be more accessible, especially to the ones I love.

(When you go dark, do you retreat, disconnect?) I don’t know how to answer that. I certainly shield. Shield, shield, shield. Mask, escape. Now I think: That’s just me. […]

(How do you make sense of the past six months and keep going?) Family first. People on their deathbeds don’t talk about what they obtained or were awarded. They talk about their loved ones or their regrets—that seems to be the menu. I say that as someone who’s let the work take me away. Kids are so delicate. They absorb everything. They need to have their hand held and things explained. They need to be listened to. When I get in that busy work mode, I’m not hearing. I want to be better at that. […] 

(What in the past week has given you immense joy? Can you feel that right now?) It’s been a more painful week than normal—just certain things have come up—but I see joy out the window, and I can see the silhouette of palms and an expression on one of my kids’ faces, a parting smile, or finding some, you know, moment of bliss with the clay. You know, it’s everywhere, it’s got to be found. […]

A few months ago I was having frightening dreams and I’d consciously lie awake trying to ask, What can I get out of this? What can I learn from this? Those ceased. And now I have been having moments of joy, and you wake and realize it’s just a dream, and I get a bit depressed for the moment. Just the moment, just glimpse moments of joy because I know I’m just in the middle of this thing now and I’m not at the beginning of it or at the end of it, just where this chapter is right now, just smack-dab in the middle. It’s fucking in the middle of it and, you know, I just don’t want to dodge any of it. I just want to stand there, shirt open, and take my hits and see, and see. […]

That’s why I never understood growing up with Christianity—don’t do this, don’t do that—it’s all about don’ts, and I was like how the f**k do you know who you are and what works for you if you don’t find out where the edge is, where’s your line? You’ve got to step over it to know where it is. […]

I’m anxious to get to the studio. I think it was Picasso who talked about the moment of looking at the subject, and paint hitting canvas, and that is where art happens. For me I’m having a moment of getting to feel emotion at my fingertips. But to get that emotion to clay—I just haven’t cracked the surface. And I don’t know what’s coming. Right now I know the manual labor is good for me, getting to know the expansiveness and limitations of the materials. I’ve got to start from the bottom, I’ve got to sweep my floor, I’ve got to wrap up my shit at night, you know?


  1. A very raw and honest interview. It’s good when celebrities can pull down the illusion that society has created in our world. The illusion that perfection is real and attainable.,clearly it’s not for any of us.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. So much here…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Christie says:

    Brad Pitt, has discovered he is a work in progress & he is gaining wisdom….”You either deny them all of your life or you answer them and evolve…Yeah, the avoidance of pain is a real mistake. It’s the real missing out on life. It’s those very things that shape us, those very things that offer growth, that make the world a better place, oddly enough, ironically. That make us better. […]”.
    “(What in the past week has given you immense joy?)” Interestingly, I considered sending you an email, yesterday asking you what stood out as your best “Tuesday Blessing” wish I would have taken the time to put forth that action of sending the email…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. it is all bursting through.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just as the catepillar becomes a butterfly….progress. (Along with a few pithy phrases to be filed away for future use)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Smiling. For some reason you have spurred thoughts on Ruskin:

      “You will find it less easy to unroot faults than to choke them by gaining virtues. Do not think of your faults, still less of others faults; in every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong; honour that; rejoice in it and as you can, try to imitate it; and your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes.” ― John Ruskin

      Liked by 4 people

      • and that reminds me of a quote by Bill Stiner, a lesser known philosopher:

        “If there is one thing I am learning as I age, it is that all of our experiences, good and bad, contribute in ways we never could have imagined to the value we ultimately bring to the world. So I have become more accepting of things that happen because I believe they will improve me in the long run”. (Bill Steiner, November, ’03)

        Liked by 3 people

        • So much Truth in that. So, one more, which I read on Jeffs blog this morning:

          What poetry is all about is paying attention to subtle details. Great art is paying attention to the things that are lost. When you are young, emotions are much broader; there’s that “anywhere you go, I will go with you” mentality. As you get older, it becomes more like tea that steeps for a long time and gets richer. That’s the sublime quality of life.

          ~ Duane Michals, from The Last Sentimentalist: A Q. & A. with Duane Michals (The New Yorker, May 9, 2014))


          Liked by 2 people

      • good sentiments from Ruskin…took care of my neighbor’s beautiful Siamese named “Ruskin” for a year…one of the most loving creatures I’ve ever known…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. lenwaldron says:

    Thanks for posting Dave, and for the comments of others–all very impactful. Raw and honest thoughts from another Southern Missouri boy hit home literally and figuratively.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. When I originally read this interview, I was so touched. I would hate to be on the Hollywood stage as he is for all to see my foibles and failure (because *we* so like to focus on those, don’t we?. This was super generous of him, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It makes me think of my sister, who I wrote about a year ago. Unlike brad, she didn’t hit the lottery.. She worked for Child Protective Services. Had a Masters Degree in counselling. Counselled families suffering from addiction, and sometimes had to take kids away from parents.
    But my sister died from a Fentanyl overdose.
    Her message, like Brads, is that no one….NOT ONE
    … is immune from addiction.
    As for me, well, thank God for NA.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Christie says:

      I am so sorry that you and your family have lost, beautiful Lisa…looks like she has many moments of Joy, so glad you have some treasured memories of her…/// I also have a beautiful sister, named Lisa (red head) and we have also lost a sibling to drug overdose…the youngest of our older brothers, he was one of the many statistic lost to Heroin (long term addict),..loss is hard and I thank you for sharing her story, and that of addiction,so thankful you rec’d the help you needed…Hoping that each of your days brings you strength to continue to stand strong…

      Liked by 2 people

    • Wow Steven. So sorry


  9. So many of us need to be slapped awake—a divorce, illness, disaster—otherwise we think we’re “managing very well” in our delusions.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing this as I hadn’t seen it. Really good article – we all need help sometimes and I am happy he’s asking for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh my…. I hate to burst your bubble of generosity etc. I have no interest whatsoever in B Pitt but I too was very intruiged with that interview – I also realised that it was, at least for GQ, an important ‘product placement’ opportunity – see https://www.gq.com/story/brad-pitt-gq-style-cover-story – which, for me, took away some of the interest. I only read the interview (seeing that I have absolutely no interest in the person) because I’ve got the link via a gay friend and I gave him the honour of reading it. IF his experiences have made BP a better person, it’s certainly a good thing though!

    Liked by 1 person

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