I’m obsessed with Tennessee Williams in an unhealthy way. Last year, I was in a school production of Suddenly Last Summer, which was stellar. The lights, the sets, the actors, everything was pitch perfect, including the script, which I had never read anything like. It was the first really definitive piece of play writing I’ve read that has shaped my scope of thought. The characters, who are caught up in a web of secrets, insanity, and cannibalism (among other tiny issues), all have their own various breakdowns which often culminate in a grappling with God. Awesome!! I shivered after coming across the line, “We’re all of us children in a vast kindergarten trying to spell God’s name with the wrong alphabet blocks.” Oh. My. God. That’s me! It’s like the ghost of Tennessee Williams is talking directly to me! I transform from a high school student-sneaking peeks at my script from behind an Algebra textbook to an overall wearing five-year-old, playing finger paints and blocks, learning numbers and letters. I don’t know anything more than a baby staring at squares of wood with foreign symbols. We are constantly trying to make sense of the cosmos and destiny and Jesus and Allah and it suddenly hits me that I’m surrounded by people constantly wrestling with new pieces of the puzzle shaped by life and experience and their ancestor’s beliefs and I’m starting to feel dizzy with the whole universe spinning around me and this run on sentence forming in my stewing head and—I fall out of my chair, face first, on to the ground. In the middle of math class. Let’s just freeze time for a sec and try on some Judy Bloom for size. Are you there, God? It’s me, Caroline. We haven’t talked one on one in a while … but what’s good? If you could make this impending embarrassing aftermath just disappear, that’d be great. Excellent! See you in church! Or wherever, you omnipresent being, you!! Peter 1:6 all the way!! I’ll stop now. Though Suddenly Last Summer was written as an exercise in exorcising Williams’ troubled childhood from his head, he breathes new life into theological theories that God (or whomever) is just uncertain and terrifying and beautiful as we’ve imagined, or is quite possibly nothing we’ve ever dreamt of. The play ends in a realization that a main character may be telling the truth about a gruesome murder of her cousin and quickly fades to blackout. Religion is the same way- we come to our conclusions one way or another and then proceed to black out, presumably into the nothingness or somethingness of the afterlife. Luckily we get a curtain call after the show and take flowers and kiss our families and don’t have to figure out right now what we want or who we want or where and when we want them. And that is perfectly all right with me.

For now.