Tuesday, April 13, 2021

the last book I ever read (My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir by Jenn Shapland, excerpt two)

from My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir by Jenn Shapland:

As therapy, Carson and Mary’s sessions were life-changing. Carson’s quest for self-knowledge, which coincided with narrating her disastrous marriages and articulating her love for women, took place well into her adulthood. The tapes document a forty-one-year-old woman just figuring out who she is, dictating it in her soft southern purr. Carson’s letters to Mary after each session are awash in the joy of self-revelation, among other joys. But Carson never published her therapy transcripts. After reading them over, she was heartbroken to find them garbled and indecipherable. Yet I read them as if they were an unpublished manuscript, a draft tucked away in a a drawer for a lifetime, only to find its way to a numbered folder in a numbered box in an archive. Carson may not have ultimately seen a book in them, but I do. I see the only story she ever wrote: a lonely misfit wrestles with her hidden self, unable to articulate her own longings.

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