Joy Williams - February 11, 1944
Henry Rollins has a piece in one of his spoken word performances where he discusses the themes of movies. It is a digression from his discussion of poetry...at least I think I am remembering all of this correctly. Anyway, he talks about how a majority movies need to be depressing...how it makes them more appealing to people. He gives an example of two movies...one of which is super happy, and everything goes right for the main character. The second takes place in a world of hell, it is dark and the world is ending for the main character. He jokes that the ticket line for the latter movie would be around the block while almost no one would g and see the “happy” movie.
What is our attraction to theses dark disturbing movies?
Joy Williams seems to have figured out that writing “downer” pieces works for her voice and she has developed fans. She has been nominated for a Pulitzer in Fiction, as well as a National Book Award.
So, Bromeliads is very much a downer.
In bios about the author, she is described as creating fiction where her “Characters are usually divorced, children are abandoned, and their lives are consumed with fear, often irrational...”
About hits the nail on the head for this little piece.
I find it interesting to read about the mental breakdown of people. Again the mind fascinates me...it’s sad to see a persons own chemical makeup turn against them and cause their mind to lose its bearings and cause such pain to family members.
It happens all too often though.
And finally this quote from an online interview with Joy Williams-
“The conundrum of literature is that it is not supposed to say anything. Often a reader can enjoy a story or novel simply because he can admire the writer’s skill in getting out of it.”
7 out of 10