…there was nothing timid or frail about the manner in which Carson McCullers faced life.


I first met Carson McCullers during the war when I was visiting Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith in upstate New York. Carson lived nearby, and one day when Buzz and I were out for a walk she hailed us from her doorway. She was then in her early twenties, and had already suffered the first of a series of strokes that made her an invalid before she was thirty. I remember her as a fragile thing with great shining eyes, and a tremor in her hand as she placed it in mine. It wasn’t palsy, rather a quiver of animal timidity. But there was nothing timid or frail about the manner in which Carson McCullers faced life. And as her afflictions multiplied she only grew stronger.

An Open Book, by John Huston

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  1. April 8, 2014

    Whenever I see photos of McCullers or read something about her, my thoughts inevitably go to “I must re-read ‘The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter’ and ‘Ballad of the Sad Cafe.'” Thought it this time, too, so I guess I need to make room for them. Thanks for the wonderful photo!

    • April 9, 2014

      We’ll make a pact, I’ll reread them to. If you haven’t read John Huston’s memoir there is a wonderful section on McCullers, and an account of her traveling to Ireland in the last few months of her life — there’s some kind of deep courage in friendship…
      Oh, and the portrait was shot by Carl Van Vechten: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/van/

      • Heather in Arles
        April 9, 2014

        I love the idea of a deep courage in friendship…so beautifully put and so outstandingly true…

      • April 9, 2014

        It never seems like it at the beginning, but it develops that way…

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