Tennessee Williams: The Flaws of an Artist

Photograph by Michael Childers

Interview with Tennessee Williams
Conducted by James Grissom

One of the most painful realizations we must come to as artists is that the tale of the artistic trade-off being eventually satisfied is a myth. Whatever maladjustments or cruelties we felt we were dealt as a child remain with us forever, and that Achilles heel or Cassandra truth about us--that awful thing that dogs us perpetually--is never alleviated by applause or money or recognition by those we feel have what we lack or those who witness what we do. 

What the true artists have done--and all true artists are also survivors, so rid yourself of the self-image of an open wound--is to incorporate all of these flaws into the beautiful tapestry they have decided they will become. They do not delude themselves about their flaws; they glory in them and put them to use. Whatever else, these flaws are what help us to write what we write, or act what is acted. And once you're mature, you find that that is no small reward.

©  2015   James Grissom


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