Friday, March 12, 2010

Notebooks by Tennessee Williams, early thoughts...

I currently reading the Notebooks of Tennessee Williams which to at least one of my friends is a random selection but ever since learning about him in an undergraduate literature class and reading and then watching his play,  "A Street Car Named Desire" I've been interested in who Tennessee Williams was.

This book is a compilation of all of the private journals he kept during his life and at 822 pages it's no small or quick read. I'm only about 100 pages into it but already I find him such an interesting man. For one he is a total hypochondriac. Every day he makes a note about how he's feeling, any small twinge, pain, headache etc. is mentioned and he seems to have a flair for the dramatic. One example from October 1936 he writes:

I have a periodically painful tooth -- that worries me. It is surprising that all of us don't go mad in this world. Problems, problems, problems-- somebody must have lost the answer book (61).'
In November he writes:
I am a bit alarmed about sudden, jolting pains that I have in the back of my head... (63). 
Literally ever single day he mentions something along these lines. He also has a delightfully sarcastic and witty nature to him which comes through in his journals and I find him incredibly amusing (even though I'm not sure that's his intention). One of my favorite lines thus far is:
Possibly each individual at the party waas -- taken individually a fairly decent person -- but put together they become absolute asses and make me despise them (69).
How hysterically honest. I sometimes wonder if we are losing some of that honesty with blogging. I know that many times I censor or omit certain feelings or emotions because of the potential for someone to come across my blog. I think journal keeping in the way Tennessee Williams did for years and years may become a bit of a lost art. There are so many times when I have a desire to blog about a certain thing because it's important to me, and part of my story, but I stop myself for fear of being misunderstood or offending someone else and also the fear that I don't know exactly who is reading.

Just a few random thoughts sparked by my endeavor to read this massive work and my need to distract myself from school work. One last thought Tennessee Williams offers:
... [journal keeping] has certain things to recommend it, it keeps a recorded continuity between his past and present selves, it gives him the comforting reassurance that shocks, defeats, disappointments are all snowed under by pages and pages of new experience that still keep flaking down on him as he continues through time, and promises that this comforting snowfall of obliteration will go right on as long as he himself keeps going.
Good night (I hope).

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