Wednesday, April 9, 2008

in full bloom

Words are a net to catch beauty!

When I read those words years ago, as a college student, I felt a shiver run down my spine. Yes! my soul shouted. That's just how I feel! Words were my friends, as near and dear to me as my sorority sisters and the boys from Sigma Phi Epsilon. I had fallen in love at an early age, and had never quite gotten over this first crush. Words spoke to me (of course they did, that's what words are for, right?) But it was as if we shared a secret language. I would reread books just to enjoy the sentences composed by my favorite writers, savoring the delicious morsels prepared just for me from that delectable storehouse of goodies -- the alphabet.

Strange? More than a little, I guess, but true enough. Once I learned how to read and write, to understand that these precious little gems of language could be combined in myriad ways to delight, educate, astound and scandalize, I was hooked. I longed to be caught up in that net of beauty, awash in the truth and power of language.

So when I saw those words, written just so that I could love them, I knew I had found a story that I would turn to again and again. It's a short story by Tennessee Williams, and I don't know if it's considered a classic or not. All I know is that once I fell headlong into Williams' net, I was a goner.

The story is set on a college campus. Its heroine, the angsty Myra, pens my favorite phrase in the back of a notebook, and then goes on to have a fling with a strange, moody boy who writes poetry (instead of her usual beau, the boy she is supposed to love.) This new boy's name is Homer, and the gal he normally hangs out with is named Hertha, for heaven's sake. How he and Myra wind up together is gloriously simple and complicated and unexplained; how like real life! I loved reading it when I was 19, and I love it now. I admit I don't quite know why. But I do know for certain that this story touched me in a unique, profound way.

The pivotal scene in the story occurs in my favorite place in the whole world. Homer takes Myra there on a moonlit night, and her breath catches as she looks out at the most wonderful sight. Before them is a meadow filled with delicate blue flowers, their fragrance filling the air, their petals lifted by the wind. They are at the field; the field of blue children.

We all know what happens at the field. Myra puts it behind her, and goes on the marry the boy who is right for her. But one day she returns to the field, just for a day, just because she must.

Friends have asked where I got the name for this blog, and there it is. I believe each of us has a "field of blue children", a place we return to when we need to experience life. My field is the place where I am safe. The place where I can be with my words, experiencing the comfort they provide for me. It is my creative corner of the world, the place where I am free to create and dream, to make mistakes, try things on. It is my place to be young again.

So the blue children are not blue babies (although I had one of those dear ones to love.) They are not the four sons I am rearing, and they are not sad, even though my life is overwhelmed with all things manly and plenty of sorrow! My blue children are my words, my wonderful, amazing, life-giving bouquet of blossoms, linked together, stem to stem, a net to hold me fast and safe.

You may read my favorite short story, "The Field of Blue Children,"


Sarah Reinhard said...


Such a beautiful post, Cathy. :)

Anonymous said...

That's some beautiful writing, Cathy. And I was happy to know of the reason behind your blog title!

I plan to read your favorite short story soon!

CJ Sweet said...

I just love Tennessee Williams. I couldn't believe there was a story I hadn't read of his before, but when I went to the link and read it, I realized I had...but just long forgotten it. Thank you for reminding me. About the story, about the beauty of language.

God bless!

CJ Sweet said...

Cathy, where are you? Hope you are doing okay!

Kate Wicker said...

Lovely post, Cathy. God bless.

Barb Smerecki said...

Hi Cathy, I was struck at reading your post. It is pleasing to note that though I feel I am alone in my appetite for words or that my love of words seems strange, we have this commonality. Peace, Barb

Anonymous said...

You just BLESSED MY DAY dear. I don't really know you but stumbled across your article through my search on GOOGLE.

Remain gr8