The Theater department at IU in Bloomington invited me to attend a performance of The Gentleman from Indiana, which opens July 11… but alas! I live in Seattle. I don’t think I’m up for that long a drive! I wish I could go, though. They’re staging James Still’s 2007 adaptation, and Still’s a real Hoosier.
History may often be written by the winners, but make no mistake—it’s always lived by the losers, too, and for a good deal of Tarkington’s younger years his immediate family lived more like losers than winners. But that’s the benefit of being a writer, isn’t it? You get to win in the end by rewriting your life in a fashion that suits you better. Especially when others buy your books by the tens of thousands. And for Tarkington, that meant telling the truth as he lived it, if with sly humor and happy endings. Hence, “As I Seem to Me” rather than “As I Actually Am.”