Kendall Hailey:  The Day I Became an Autodidact and the Advice, Adventures, and Acrimonies that Befell Me Thereafter, Dell Publishing, New York, 1988.  Quotes selected and review by Alan Nicoll.


"The world has become my teacher and I can never accept a go-between again."  p. 129


"What I hope to Do:  Love so much today I don't need tomorrow."  p. 133


"When I was in school, my life was what was due next week, and that's not enough of a life."  p. 142


"I got the most heartbreaking letter from a college friend today.  Ever since I had known her she wanted to be an actress, and so after graduation, when I was afraid I would not see her again, I wrote to tell her what a wonderful actress I thought she was.

      "She wrote today that she did not get into the acting school she wanted to, so she is giving up her dream of being an actress.  It takes so little to destroy a dream.

      "I sometimes look at adult people and wonder how they could have ended up so sad, and yet here I am at the formation of what may be some very sad lives.  We are changed people once we let go of what we hope for.

      "Most of my dreams are pretty silly, but I will not let go of one of them, no matter how much of what is laughingly referred to as 'real life' gets in the way.  As Ruth Gordon said, the key to success is:  Don't Face Facts."  p. 144


"Last night I wanted to punch the audience after I came off [stage].  Tonight I decided to punch them before I went on, and it worked wonders."  p. 266


Quoting Melville, apparently from Moby Dick:  "But I now leave my Cetological System standing thus unfinished, even as the great Cathedral of Cologne was left, with the crane still standing upon the top of the uncompleted tower.  For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity.  God keep me from ever completing anything.  This whole book is but a draught---nay, but the draught of a draught.  Oh, Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!"  p. 277


Book review:  Simply delightful---quotable, funny, dear---but also a bit trivial.  Not really that much here of advice for an aspiring autodidact, though it could be very encouraging.  One of the healthiest personalities you can imagine.  She writes simply, but the people in her life live here, vibrantly and memorably.  Reread this for fun and refreshment.  4/5/03

Bill's Best People has a profile of Kendall Hailey.

Book review by Andrew Smallman at Puget Sound Community School

My email address is: I welcome your views.

Home You'll find a lot more of my writing here.