Tennessee Williams: On Myth

Interview with James Grissom

One wakes up in the morning and reaches for eyeglasses, coffee, and a myth. You can see that one needs vision, energy, and that myth. Otherwise, the day is simply impossible to face, endure, survive.

It is impossible, I think, to simply face life, so we all become wildly inventive and artistic in creating what I call our alternative life, in which we are loved and needed and of some purpose.

God helps a lot of people. God has certainly helped me. People latch on to God and tell people that no matter how insignificant and unloved they may be at work and at home, they have a gilded home in Heaven, and God loves them.

Myths grease the wheel to which we are chained.

Drugs help a lot of people. Drugs helped me--and help me. They provide vision and energy and a myth. Drugs tell you that you can write or love or survive or entertain. Drugs tell you that the day is shot to Hell anyway, so drop a pill, snort a line, drink some more. Protect yourself. Disappear.

I don't know what to tell you. A statement is easy, and here it is: Be yourself. Try to matter. Be a good friend. Love freely, even if you are likely--almost guaranteed--to be hurt, betrayed. Do what you were created to do. You'll know what this is, because it is what you keep creeping up to, peering at, dreaming of. Do it. If you don't, you'll be punching clocks and eating time doing precisely what you shouldn't, and you'll become mean and you'll seek to punish any and all who appear the slightest bit happy, the slightest bit comfortable in their own skin, the slightest bit smart. Cruelty is a drug, as well, and it's all around us. Don't imbibe.

Try to matter. Try to care. And never be afraid to admit that you just don't know, you just don't fucking know how you're going to make it. That's when the help--the human and the divine help--shows up.

© 2014 James Grissom


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