Below is one of four interviews from Still Water.
Interviewer: How would you compare the creative processes of the things you've done: acting, writing music, writing a book?
Art Garfunkel: Well, I'm not a songwriter; I was when I was a teen-ager, but all the Simon and Garfunkel years, and all the years I've been making solo albums, I performed songs written by others. So therefore this book is really the first creation I've done in the sense of bringing a piece into existence from nothing. When I made the few movies I made, it was a thrill to be a researcher, a homework artist. Preparing what the character was about was great fun. In the process of shooting you are preparing your next day's lines; for me it was very similar to analysis. You're dealing with memories, and states of being, ways you've felt, things that have touched you, all related to what's in the shoot tomorrow. What's fascinating is that you uncover about nine different approaches to these same two pages of language; there are familiar and less familiar ways these things can be said. Writing is often a first line and a sense of where it's going; something you've thought about all your life that has finally crystallized for you.
Interviewer: In one of the poems, a cab driver says, &uot;We were right in the Sixties.&uot; How do you think the spirit of the Sixties has evolved, and do you think there's any of it left?
Art Garfunkel: I've had to learn, to my great disenchantment, that what I felt as a twenty-year-old in the Sixties was an inspired energy boost, whereas I thought it was a cultural fact that would lead to a permanent shift in American life. I've had to deal with the disappointment that goes with seeing that that boost was simply a traditional young person's burst of optimism. While we were so convinced that our more open attitude toward finding meaning in life in the Sixties - while we were so fired up with that - even as we were, there were forty-five-year-olds who knew that it was something, who perhaps had also been through a young period of spirit and had cashed in that point of view for financial security for the family. So they had experienced a personal shift, and we hadn't, because we were younger. So now I'm dealing with seeing that shift and wondering if this is a necessary aging phenomenon, or is it merely dropping the ball? Were we once, in the Sixties, young Americans at that time, were we not really on to something?
Interviewer: Do you think young people have dropped the ball nowadays?
Art Garfunkel: Well, we only see life from our own perspective. As I've gotten older, it does seem that the Seventies were kind of nowhere, as if any inspiration of the Sixties did not lead anywhere. So I don't know if I'm typical of other Americans, but it seems we've been adrift and we lack inspiration. We're a nation that does not know what its direction and vision is, where it thinks it's going. We've had almost two decades of this now.
That's what I was talking about when I was saying that the Sixties seemed so alive with hope and change for America. But it's all from where you look at it. Do the seasons give me the same fulfillment as they did when I was young? I feel they're better than ever. What some things mean to me seems to have been enriched through the years. If I take delight in the clarity of the air, that delight seems to be a richer thing than when I was younger. My very self is more than it was, so the apparatus with which I take in and put together and make meaning of anything seems worth more now.
Interviewer: You just got married, and you mentioned that you might want children. Do you have ideas about how you might want your children to be - in the light of disappointing recent generations, perhaps? Would you like to have a child who is musical?
Art Garfunkel: Interesting uestion. My natural inclination is to dare not put expectations on another live being. Because this word freedom is crucial. I live with a fair amount of personal freedom, and I find it's the air that I breathe to know that I can choose to find happiness in my own way and not worry about judgments or the image of my deeds. So before I get notions of what I hope for in another, I would rather check that. I hope for health in a child, but I really hope that they feel unencumbered by Daddy or Mommy's expectations. Sometimes when a parent is very hands-off, a child has an extra sense of wanting to satisfy him or her; it works in reverse. Because if the parent is so liberal, the child is so much swimming in free choice the child sleuths out what he thinks Mom and Dad would like him to do. If my child is musical or not musical, I think that's six of one, half a dozen of another. It's a very wide world. You want the kid's spirit to come out rather than be repressed. I think tolerance is a fabulous word. These are the only parameters. I don't want to be such a permissive parent that the kid doesn't feel there's some structure. So I think rearing children might - I've never done it, but I sense it's a lot about mixing freedom with structure. It's an art form, probably. And you just love the shit out of them.
Interviewer: Do you usually travel alone? I know you went to Alaska with your brothers.
Art Garfunkel: Half the time I'm alone, half the time not. I believe when you travel alone, you encounter the world more directly. But I do both. I go with Kim, I travel on motorcycles often. I love to get on a freighter, and I'll do that alone. A freighter trip is great for writing; it's just terrific. When you're on a freighter you really do not have to live on a twenty-four-hour schedule. You can hit a writing jag and do thirty-six hours of pacing the deck and being out under the stars and then go back to your room for more typing. And when that arc has been run, you can sleep for however long it takes.