Unlock the door

February 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Make voyages. Attempt them. There’s nothing else.

Tennessee Williams

I felt a little shaky when I walked in the door.

Travel agents do that to me.

I always try not to look at the huge map on the wall, little pins stuck in cities I’ve never even considered. I‘m such a dreamer that I’m wary of glancing up at a red pin in a random place, and suddenly striding out of there with a ticket to a donkey riding expedition up the hills of Chincha Alta, instead of the winter solstice celebrations in Uppsala I had planned.

Don’t laugh. It could happen.

Instead, I walked out of there blinking at the Melbourne morning sun, looking at the ticket in my hand to Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco, just as I’d planned.

And I may have strutted down Brunswick Street with the bounce in my gait that means yes, yes, I’m hitting the road again.

Few things taste sweeter.

Flickr: Rubyblossom

I’ve always wanted to see New Orleans. I’ve been to the States several times but never down south, and I couldn’t be more excited. Well, that’s a lie – when  a beloved friend offered to fly down from Philadelphia and meet me there, and take me to ‘the pirate bar where Tennessee Williams drank’…well, it’s safe to say I made a noise only dogs could hear.

I love his plays; I do, I do. I love the lushness of his words, his richly drawn characters and settings whose heat and scents curl from the page and into the air as you read.

Maggie, we’re through with lies and liars in this house. Lock the door.

Tennesse Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I have a finely honed sense of the value of home, both as a linguist who frequently travels, and the agoraphobe I was before that who spent two years locked in her house. I’m so eager to explore the streets of New Orleans and see just how the city seeped into his writing, curling its ivy through his words and wrapping around tight.

I’ve found an address near Pirate’s Alley, where he wrote at the window and his landlady poured hot water between the cracks in the floorboards to shut the tenants up. Another apartment near the French Quarter was where he lost his virginity on New Year’s Eve, then lived with a young male flamenco dancer. And another at 623 St Peters Street where he listened to two streetcars rattle past, one named Desire and the other Cemeteries, finding it ‘the perfect metaphor for the human condition.’

And if I find anyone reminiscent of a rain-soaked Stanley Kowalski bellowing from a street corner, or the silhouette of a sultry Maggie the Cat against a window, I’ll let you know.

Don’t you just love those long rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn’t just an hour – but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hands – and who knows what to do with it?

Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire



  1. Leith said,

    ..oh, the music…
    {envy = veridian green}

    • inkymouth said,

      I will tap my fingers on a whiskey-slicked bar top in time to the blues, and I’ll think of you, Leith.

      {excitement = cinnabar vermilion}

  2. Erica said,

    Just saw this post! You have no idea how excited I am. Please message me your current address because I have something to send you in preparation for this adventure!

    There is a restaurant right off of Pirate’s Alley that we will certainly dine at. It’s one of the most dreamy places I’ve ever been. http://www.greengoddessnola.com/

    • inkymouth said,

      Good lord woman – what have you done? I’ve just spent the last fifteen minutes scrolling through the menu. Brandy soaked figs with blue cheese…pomegranate molasses…bread pudding with brandied apples and vermouth! And I can’t BELIEVE the prices, so cheap compared to Melbourne. Right – email coming now!

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