Q: Could you jump fences before?
A: Oh, yeah. You know, you just vault íem.
Q: What do you rely on when youíre writing?
A: I go between two typewriters. The one that Iíve got now thatís just a monster is this little IBM Selectric from back in the seventiesthat electric ball thing. Itís just a monster. I mean, itís extremely fast, extremely sensitive and accurate, and it feels good. And then Iíve got a little Hermès portable that I like very much, and I take that on the road. Youíve really got to slam on that one, whereas the electric one is very fast. But I basically go from the handwritten notebooks to these other two deals. You know how it is if youíre a guitar player and youíve got a great old Gibson? The instrument feels good and you feel good playiní it.
Q: So you donít use a computer for writing?
A: Never. Never. I donít touch it. I donít go anywhere near it. I mean, everybody around me knows about it, but Iíve turned my back on it.
Q: Do you e-mail?
A: No. Donít need to. Itís a complete hype. Itís not a necessity. Why do I need e-mail?
Q: You need it for the same reason youíd need heroin.
A: Yeah. Right. Yeah. And I knew a lot of junkies growiní up. But you donít need that.
Q: You captured fraternal friction so perfectly in the play True Westwith its two sparring brothers, Austin and Leethat I was surprised to learn that you donít have a brother.
A: Right. I mean, basically theyíre the same person. Itís just a split. I just wrote íem as two characters, but theyíre basically two conflicting parts of one person. So itís very easy to do that withoutyou donít need a brother. Youíve got your own brother.
Q: Speaking of which, you were known as Steve Rogers growing up in Duarte, California, but when you came to New York City in 1963, you switched your name to Sam Shepard.
A: If you remember, back in the old days there was a Steve Rogers who was Captain Americathat was his alter ego, right? And I always thought, I donít want to be carrying around the name of a cartoon hero. Actually, my legitimate name is Samuel Shepard Rogers, so I just shortened it to Sam Shepard and dropped the Rogers. I just kind of invented it.
Q: Do you ever feel as though thereís a Steve Rogers still out in the Mojave, living an alternate life?
A: Spinniní his wheels. Yeah. Iím sure there is.