When I first launched this website, I thought that titling it “Melanie McCabe- Poet” was ideal. All of my work at that time had been confined to poetry, and I had no plans to write anything else.
But everything changed in May of 2013.
I have known ever since my father died when I was 16 that he had been married to another woman before he married my mother. And I knew that this woman had been Tennessee Williams’ girlfriend when the two of them were growing up together in St. Louis.
It was a tantalizing bit of information that I savored and would share with my students when we would begin reading A Streetcar Named Desire in class. But I knew very little else– about this woman, about Williams, or about the nearly fifteen years my father had spent in this first marriage.
But that day in May, a friend asked casually if I also knew that Williams had written a play late in his life in which there was a character named after my father — Terrence McCabe. I had not known– and I was intrigued. So intrigued that I set out on a quest to learn more– and what I have learned since that day has gone far beyond that one play to include a far-reaching investigation into my father’s “other life” and what actually occurred between him, his first wife, and Tom Williams.
I am now more than two-thirds of the way into a book on this topic– a book I never anticipated writing. And I am very pleased to announce here that the first chapter of this book has now been published as an essay in the current issue of SHENANDOAH.
Please click below to read the essay!