Tennessee Williams: Follow People, Not Dreams

Tenn walking an unseen dog on the Via Veneto

Interview with Tennessee Williams
Conducted by James Grissom

I was compelled to write more often than I was inspired to write. Inspiration is one of those sticky locales that keeps attracting people, who then die within its comfortable walls. Dreams are those things from which you awake and begin running, walking, sprinting toward a realization of what you want and need. I think I'm very practical about writing--at least in the sense of why I do it. I write because I'm a writer, not because the ideal situation has appeared or because the flawless scenario has dropped into my head. I don't wait for inspiration: I walk around the world with my eyes open and I see how people live; how people are treated; how people react to their individual treatments. There's the inspiration. Follow people, not dreams. I was never in a Zen state of mind when I wrote: More often than not I was furious over how someone--a fellow human--was treated horribly, and I could avenge them with words I felt required to supply.

© 2014 James Grissom


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