Women We Love (VII)



  • Name: Lisl Steiner. I am a Viennese cookie.
  • What words best describe you? I usually don’t describe myself. In my time, if you were multi-interested and a little talented, it was easy to be recognized. Freelancing was not easy, because they didn’t recognize signatures. I had to constantly fight for credit for myself and for others. When you do something, you should get credit. Good or bad, it’s yours. It’s your baby. I am best known as a photographer and documentary filmmaker.
  • What is it that inspires you? Art. The Spanish painter and artist Juan Gris said, “Improvisation is the ultimate freedom.” I am pissed-off at our world, which is brutal, which only recognizes work when it is worth a lot of money—usually after the artist dies. Everything has become a commodity. Young people should be recognized for their work.
  • What are you most grateful for? Everything. You miss so much, when you do not connect to the people who are out there. You see, there are two kinds of women: those who are very lonely and have to talk to people and those who are not lonely, but talk to people. At the age of 90, I like to talk to everybody. I am not a lonely old woman.
  • What important values do you live by? I don’t think much. I just do. There are three beliefs I live by: improvisation, curiosity and humor. People are too set in their ways. Relax, talk to people; find out who they are.
  • Life is…surprise after surprise.
  • Love is…certainly not what you find in romance novels. It’s a feeling of wanting you can’t control—very satisfying. Sex is not love. If two people love each other, sex is good. If you are not a giving sex partner it is not.
  • Biggest achievement so far…I love small achievements. I appreciate the small things.
  • Hardship…I recently had my most treasured possessions stolen. I am not a materialistic person, but it felt as if I had lost my persona. Then I started reasoning: tsunami, earthquake, loss of a child… but it hasn’t healed. In Austria we have a saying: “The last shirt has no pockets.” It’s true. You can’t take it with you.
  • Most impactful or favorite book…Goethe, Schiller. I really can’t relate to English literature too much. I like Shakespeare, I like Hamlet and Miller, but my temperament is German.
  • Least favorite word…stupidity. I am not a moralizer. There is constructive and there is destructive criticism. If you are going to criticize, be sure you can prove it. You won’t be popular.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? I will be dust. I don’t want to live to 105. I feel sad when someone offers me a hand to walk. I don’t like it.
  • Do you have any advise? I don’t give advice. I have a suggestion—advice in disguise. Young people don’t believe in having a mentor. Doing everything alone is a bad idea. Mentors are important. You can’t believe you have to do it alone.

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