(James Grissom Tampa Bay Times September 30th, 2015; via Ethan.)
When Grissom, a Louisiana native, was 20 years old and an aspiring writer, he wrote a long letter to Tennessee Williams, asking his advice, even though they had never met. It was 1982, and the great playwright was depressed, fearful that critics and audiences were turning away from his works, that his creative days were behind him, that his achievements would fade — unlikely as that seems for the man who created A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and other classics of American theater, garnering two Pulitzer Prizes and countless other honors along the way. But Williams' insecurities and self-doubt were nearly as legendary as his talent.
Something in Grissom's earnest letter struck a chord, and Williams summoned the young man to New Orleans. After intense conversation, Williams asked Grissom to write this book — to interview the people who had mattered to him most, many of them women who had inspired his plays, to see if he had mattered to them.
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