Friday, May 2, 2014


What writers influenced me as a young man? Chekhov!

As a dramatist? Chekhov!

As a story writer? Chekhov!

- Tennessee Williams

Any writer worth their salt who doesn't tell you something just like that is lying. Chekhov is.....I don't even want to say "the Master" because that's so opposite to his aesthetic and personality.  I don't trust people who don't like Chekhov.

(For years a bio quote of mine online was the bit in his early one-act play where the gently decaying Gothic heroine asks the struggling writer his name and he replies, "Chekhov! Anton Pavlovitch Chekhov!"* I think he says somewhere in a late interview that all writers should say that, when asked who they are.)

(It's a fucking perfect Chekhovian moment too, poised exactly between comedy and tears. Ahh, Tenn, you fucking heartbreaker of a little addicted genius, you.)

*I don't even want to tell you how many times I reread Twenty-Seven Wagons Full of Cotton as a teenager. I pored over that book like a Talmudic scholar. I used to have at least a scene from each play by heart. AH YOUTH.