February 19 ~  A Seed Grows Collected Stories of Carson McCullers

"A seed grows in writing as in Nature." ~ Carson McCullers

Carson McCullers Born on this day in Columbus, Georgia, novelist Lula Carson McCullers (1917-67) planted creative seed, calling her inspirations "illumination" and the horrors of her life "night glare."

Known for her tales of loneliness and the plight of the eccentric, McCullers moved to New York at 17 and published her first story, Wunderkind two years later.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940) delved into heroine Mick Kelly's struggle with youth and adulthood. This first novel was an overwhelming success, earning McCullers the reputation for writing with insight and sensitivity.

She said for the entire first year she worked on the book "without understanding it at all. Each character was talking to a central character, but why, I didn't know," she explained about her interpretation of the complex inner lives of the lonely.

At the urging of friend Tennessee Williams, she adapted Member of the Wedding (1946) for the stage. It became a Broadway hit. "Writing is a wandering, dreaming occupation," she said, drawing strength from the roots of her small-town origins.

In her beautiful novella Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Other Stories (1951), she weaved the odd love triangle of Miss Amelia, Cousin Lyman, and Marvin Macy. A fable of love's power to transform and destroy, Carson explored what it means to love and be the object of love, the beloved.

"Often the beloved is only a stimulus for all the stored-up love which has lain quiet within the lover for a long time hitherto. And somehow every lover knows this. He feels in his soul that his love is a solitary thing," she wrote with poetic grace.

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