Luann Landon is the author of Dinner at Miss Lady's, a memoir-cookbook; and of South Bound, a collection of narrative poems. Her book of haiku, Spider Shallow Coral Bells, will be published in 2020. She lives in Sewanee, Tennessee.
In the summer of 1937, Clark Mills McBurney and Tennessee Williams (born Thomas Lanier Williams) set up a “literary factory” in the basement of the McBurney family home. Huddled in the corner by the coal furnace and the washing machine, the factory consisted of two tables, two hard chairs, two typewriters, a bookcase, and a beat-up sofa. The aspiring young writers had been driven underground by unsatisfactory conditions above: the McBurney home was all glass, affording little privacy, and the summer heat had made the attic where Williams usually wrote in his own home unbearable.
When the tetherball swung back around, I grabbed it and pushed it hard, not at the boy who had hit me but at the plump kid standing next to him. One thing I’d learned from attending three schools in three years: you went for a follower. Give the leader someone else weak to hate.
The tetherball smacked the plump boy in the face. He looked as though he wanted to cry. “What a pussy,” his friend said.
The bell rang.