For 50 years, Stephen Tennant worked on his “masterpiece” that never was. Charmed by the sea port villages where he holidayed, enamored by the masculine sailors who occupied these towns. What secrets they held, what worlds they saw that laid at the periphery of Tennant’s own aristocratic world and his sublime imagination.
I just finished a biography of Tennant. In his later years, I was struck by the continual presence of Lascar. It was at once a missive and an escape for him. A duty and an excuse. A reason for his reclusiveness but a desire for fame from the outside world. Lascar was as much a mythology to him as it was a gauzy, yet-formed opus to his friends and literary correspondence.
Do you have your own Lascar? A dream that won’t materialize? An excuse, laid out for years, the immateriality of which only propels you further into your imagination? I do. I’m sure this isn’t a characteristic only Mr. Tennant and I share. But it’s one I harken back to often at my desk, dreaming of the could-have-beens and we-will-sees that hang at the edge of my own sublime imagination.