I love Tennessee Williams. Lately, I've been reading a book of his essays called "Where I Live." I love reading books that are about other books or writing, so I'm really enjoying it. One essay (and one line in particular) on how he came up with the title for The Glass Menagerie struck a chord in me so deep that
it made me cry.
He was recalling his childhood, and his sister's bedroom in their small, dirty apartment with windows that only looked out on the alley. Every night, sad things would happen to stray cats underneath her bedroom window, and so she kept her shades pulled at all times. Her room was dark, so Tennessee painted all her furniture white, and she had a shelf that housed a collection of small, glass animals.
Of these glass animals, Tennessee wrote:
"By poetic association they came to represent, in my memory, all the softest emotions that belong to recollection of things past. They stood for all the small and tender things that relieve the austere pattern of life and make it endurable to the sensitive."
I understood this so well, in myself and out of recognition in others, and it immediately brought tears to my eyes. Once an author has brought tears to my eyes, I am loyal to them forever. I was loyal to Tennessee before, but now that line is permanently in my heart, and I love him in a different way (the way you love an author or artist only once you've realize your admiration of them is not in vain and you actually feel understood by them, and their writing can then calm you at any time).
It's reminiscent of Gibran's "to know the pain of too much tenderness," and Eliot's "the notion of some infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing." Lines I will never, ever forget, and think about often.
I hope you're all having a wonderful week.
Tennessee with a cake celebrating his play The Glass Menagerie.