Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Only in New Orleans

I telephoned Walgreen's yesterday afternoon with my order for a refill of my cholesterol medicine. Don't worry. It's only 20 milligrams of Zimvastatin to be taken once daily. My doctor, wise young Dr. Wise, is proactive. He's easing me into my twilight years this way, gradually loading me up with all the old-people drugs I'll someday need to take to keep on living. He figures this way their eventual strength and numbers won't hit me with a frightening start all of a sudden in another ten years down the line. Anyway, I set my pickup time for 10 o'clock this morning. That way, I could swing over to the Faulkner House Bookstore on my way home. I wanted to get my hands on a play-script I'm interested in rereading.

Everything went as I had planned, and soon I found myself standing outside that narrow, venerable old building where the old Nobel laureate had once lived, turning the same old doorknob that old Bill himself would have wrapped his drunken fingers around back in the 1920's. I stepped up and into the old foyer, now fusty with stacks and racks of books, and said to the elegant Southern lady working there, "I'm looking for the Sweet Bird of Youth."

She turned to me, rested her left hand across the top of her breast, and sighed, "Oh, God, so am I."

You'll never get that kind of reception at your neighborhood Barnes and Noble.


  1. A beautiful mixture of youth and maturity in just a couple of paragraphs.

    I love your wise young Doctor Wise, he sounds so... well ... wise.

    Funny that you picked the same morning to go out in search of "old-people drugs" and a play called "Sweet Bird of Youth". Tennessee is an expert in human soul - man, woman, young, old, you name it!

    "Only in New Orleans" could be the title of a series. I would not miss a single chapter of it.

  2. The more I reread this post, the more I see the contrast between old and young. I was not, at first, aware of the progression from the "old-people drugs" to the "Sweet Bird of Youth" until way after I'd written and posted it.

  3. I want to read Williams' plays the way he wrote them or Gore Vidal wrote them for the screen--Suddenly Last Summer--before the censors got them. Their first real draft before someone said, "You can't say that?!?!!!1"

    I am searching. Is there such a collection? Changes and all?

  4. Certainly, all the major plays have been published. The publications utilize the script as it was finally performed originally. However, the text is not always "the text" to be found in the "Acting Editions", because Williams was always tinkering.

    Many changes in the scripts came about from suggestions - and more - made by Elia Kazan in his original Broadway productions. Before they even got to the movie stage! A good example is "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". There are several different versions of that play in publication!

    Williams wrote every day. A writer writes, and did he ever. Luckily, just about everything he put on paper is available, and it is in these works that one can spot the embryos of later plays.


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