#art/#history: even if carson mccullers (born #otd in 1917) had only, during her brief 50-year tenure on the planet, produced 'the heart is a lonely hunter', she'd be worthy of every ounce of reverence her literary prowess commands. to look at her is to know she is timeless & she stuffed as much living as she could into every moment - a lot of it, as her liver would attest, accompanied by generous lashings of alcohol. carson left her georgia birthplace at the age of 17, but that southern gothic spook followed her to new york (where she studied piano at juilliard & joined the february house art commune in brooklyn alongside benjamin britten & gypsy rose lee). although she married the same man twice, carson fancied women, too, & experimented with androgyny. she railed against sexual convention, wore trousers & tailored shirts whenever she damn well pleased & pursued the objects her affection with vigour. inside, though, perhaps in a mirror of her physical weaknesses, she often struggled with low self-esteem that left her depressed & suicidal. even a spell in paris didn't alleviate the bonne vivante's dependence on intoxicating substances & a haemorrhage eventually took her prized possession - her brain. she left some startlingly brilliant works for us to enjoy, but 'the ballad of the sad cafe' yielded this particular gem: '& the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being loved is intolerable to many.'