Born Lula Carson Smith on February 19, 1917 in Georgia, she died on September 29, 1967 at age 50. She was a novelist in the Southern Gothic Genre. Her first novel at age 22 was The Heart is a Lonely Hunter about the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts in a U.S. Southern small town. Known as Carson, not Lula, she married Reeves McCullers in 1937 and divorced him in 1941.Carson McCullers moved to New York where her roommates were Aaron Copland and Salvador Dali and others. Gypsy Rose Lee was among her friends. After World War ll she lived in Paris for a few years. Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams were her close friends.
“In 1945 Carson and Reeves McCullers remarried. Three years later while severely depressed she attempted suicide. In 1953 Reeves tried to convince her to commit suicide with him, but she fled and Reeves killed himself in their Paris hotel with an overdose of sleeping pills. Her bittersweet play, The Square Root of Wonderful (1957), drew upon these traumatic experiences.” McCullers had several strokes since her youth and by age 31 her left side was paralyzed. She also suffered from alcoholism. She lived in Nyack, New York from 1945 to 1967 where she died after a brain hemorrhage.” McCullers dictated her unfinished autobiography, Illumination and Night Glare (1999), during the final months of her life.” (Information from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carson_McCullers.)
Carson McCullers Quotes:
“How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?”
“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are gone, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.”
“There’s nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book.
The mind is like a richly woven tapestry in which the colors are distilled from the experiences of the senses, and the design drawn from the convolutions of the intellect.
While time, The endless idiot, runs screaming ’round the world.”
“We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
“The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.”
“The thinking mind is best controlled by the imagination.”
“The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen.”
Flannery O’Connor said about McCullers’ book, Clock Without Hands: “I believe it is the worst book I have ever read.”
Have any of you read work by Cullen McCullers? I haven’t. But Flannery O’Connor’s books were influential in my love of short stories and my interest in becoming a writer.