Tennessee Williams: What is Prayer?

Interview with Tennessee Williams
Conducted by James Grissom
Via Telephone
December, 1982

What is prayer? You keep asking. I think my writing is prayer. I feel more comfortable putting my words, my desires, my fears, my questions into the mouths of others, then on paper, and I feel that it rises directly to whatever God of the moment is present, is real, is accessible.

Everyone on the face of the planet wants to be heard and deserves to be heard, and I wish we could give them all a song, a play, a story to throw on to the page or up in the sky to whatever God is present, is real, is accessible.

Absent their song or story, they resort to anger, and they throw out words and arms that they think puncture the silence in which they live, but which only destroy themselves and the audience they need.

I cannot freely talk to most people about what I want or what I fear, and I found my salvation through writing. Words as prayer. Words as weapons against the raging nature that might have done damage had it not had women to escort me to the stage.

I can't define what prayer is for another person, but I can be an audience. I can listen. I can wait for your form of prayer to be given to me. I can listen.

And I will.

©  2014   James Grissom


Popular Posts