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Reflections of a working writer and reader

 

 

Tennessee Williams on Carson McCullers

Tennessee Williams had rented a lopsided frame house on the island of Nantucket and filled it with an assortment of creatures, animal and human. “There was a young gentleman of Mexican-Indian extraction who was an angel of goodness except when he had a drink.”

McCullers came to visit in response to the first fan-letter he had ever written to a writer:

I should like to mention my first meeting with Carson McCullers. It occurred during the summer that I thought I was dying . . .

Carson was not dismayed by the state of the house. She had been in odd places before. She took an immediate fancy to the elated young Mexican and displayed considerable fondness for the cats and insisted that she would be comfortable in the downstairs bedroom where they were boarding. Almost immediately the summer weather improved. The sun came out with an air of permanence, the wind shifted to the South, and it was suddenly warm enough for bathing. At the same time, almost immediately after Carson and the sun appeared on the island, I relinquished the romantic notion that I was a dying artist. My various psychosomatic symptoms were forgotten. There was warmth and light in the house, the odour of good cooking and the nearly-forgotten sight of clean dishes and silver. Also there was some coherent talk for a change. Long evening conversations over hot rum and tea, the reading of poetry aloud, bicycle rides and wanderings along moonlit dunes, and one night there was a marvellous display of the Aurora Borealis, great quivering sheets of white radiance sweeping over the island and the ghostly white fishermen’s houses and fences. That night and that mysterious phenomenon of the sky will be always associated in my mind with the discovery of our friendship, or rather, more precisely, with the spirit of this new found friend, who seemed as curiously and beautifully unworldly as that night itself . . .

From: Praise to Assenting Angels by Tennessee Williams

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