Friday, June 10, 2011

Tennessee to California: Then & Now

Tennessee Williams moved to New Orleans in his late 20s and being here, I can't help but think about how this place influenced his writing. I have always been drawn to his plays - full of angst, drama, and so much 'under current' of what he simply could not come right out and say in the 40s and 50s. Today I visited the home he owned for many years when he resided in this town and I could almost picture him sitting on that 2nd floor balcony scripting a scene with Tom and Amanda or Stanley and Blanche. As I sit out on the balcony of the B&B we are staying in (with it's 14 foot ceilings and windows that span the entire room), I think of that amazing writer and how he influenced me without even knowing he was getting in. I love plays with a deep meaning. I love the southern family tales where people cannot always speak their mind. And I am proud that while he could not be completely out in his writing, he was able to find a way in those decades of long ago to live a somewhat truthful life. He had his circle of gay friends so he could create his own community when the rest of the world would shun such a thing at that time. 
Naturally we still have those issues today (I mean, I'm visiting a state where it is a crime to actually be gay), but life is definitely easier for the GLBT community in 2011 than it was when Mr. Williams was living his life. And now I can actually write full fledged characters in my story who are dealing with all sorts of issues...that just happen to be gay. 
Yes, the world is different. Even since the 80s when I was first introduced to Mr. Williams' amazing work when I was in high school. Then, I was a closeted youth myself - who like Tom Wingfield was afraid of letting others in for fear they might actually get to know the real me. Today, I witness a dear friend of mine in California who has a daughter graduating high school allowed to be out and proud with more courage than myself (or I'd venture to say Tennessee Williams) could ever know. To see what I mean, just follow this link to her singing a beautiful song called "Blessing" by Scott Alan. Thank you Mr. Williams for sharing the past with me...and thank you Callie for showing me what is in store for our future. 

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