Sunday and Tennessee

10.jpg  OK, time to suck it up and get back into my blogging! I haven’t been doing much lately, except delving into Tennessee Williams. It all began when Turner Classic Movies replayed A Streetcar Named Desire, and I remembered how much I love his plays — Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Night of the Iguana, The Rose Tattoo, etc. But I didn’t know anything about the man himself.

I read a biography, and then another one, and ended up reading five of them, plus his Memoirs! He was a fascinating, brilliant genius. His strong points were characterization and a poetic way of phrasing things. Of course he had an unhappy childhood, and he put all of it into his plays.

I especially enjoyed learning about his work ethic. It’s said he was a compulsive writer. Every day, he wrote from daybreak until noon on an Olivetti portable typewriter. In the afternoon, he went swimming to keep himself in shape. At night, he partied and went “cruising” for homosexual partners. He was also a compulsive traveler, never staying in any one place for very long.

He wrote with no success, embroiled in poverty, from the age of 12 to 32. Then his life changed overnight when Glass Menagerie burst onto the scene with luminous success on Broadway.

I don’t quite know why, but the man has captured all my attention lately. Maybe it’s because, throughout my life, I’ve found myself thinking in some of his phrases. Thoughts like these are just so true:

“little silver slipper of a moon”

“I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

“Rise and shine!” — *mumble*  “I’ll rise, but I won’t shine.”

“Present these papers, along with a bottle of aspirin.”

“Stellllllaaaaaaa!”   

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7 thoughts on “Sunday and Tennessee

  1. Ahhh. Tennessee Williams. Such a genius. I’ve seen The Glass Menagerie on stage. Great show. Would love to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof live as well. Sounds like he was a fascinating person. Great post!

  2. This is terrific, Elizabeth–he figures into my new novel (having been a Key West resident for a time). I just love how stopping by here often further informs my wip! Glad you’re blogging again. 🙂

    For your sake, too, of course!

  3. She’s alive! I was beginning to wonder. If you want an example of another writer who probably did everything wrong and unhealthy but just kept writing until he became, literally, a folk hero — Charles Bukowski. Check it out, Liz, wrote for years and became only semi-famous in his sixties.

  4. Therese, I just feel like we’re soul-mates. I can’t wait until your book(s) come out.

    Thanks, Captain! I’ll check him out. (You’re a soul-mate, too.)

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