Monday, April 24, 2006


Saw the movie Capote last night ("saw" meaning in this case that we rented it from Netflix and watched it in our living room.) I don't know how accurate the movie is--Harper Lee wrote in to The New Yorker to say that William Shawn was never in Kansas with Truman and that Shawn didn't fly in airplanes. Someone else wrote in and said that the movie makers conflated Capote's book editor and Shawn for aesthetic purposes.

But as a portrait of how writers love and use the people around them, it is quite good. I don't know any Truman Capotes, and I'd like to think I'm not one, but all of us, at least in some small way, take advantage of the people around us.

We writers really are not trustworthy.


Blogger Karen Sandstrom said...

You are are so right. This will probably be the most self-serving thing I write on your blog (we can only hope), but I have to admit that when I was listening to the man that I ended up blogging about in what I came to call Squaw Pique, he wasn't even done with his story before I imagined how I would use it. And actually I imagined using it more than once.

April 24, 2006 9:02 PM  
Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

I am trustworthy.

I am a man.

I am a Truman Capote.


April 24, 2006 11:17 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

Either way, I've been practicing saying: "They're torturing me."

April 25, 2006 4:41 AM  
Blogger mary grimm said...

I had the same thought when I saw Capote; and then D and I had an argument (mild) about it on the way home.

April 25, 2006 9:22 PM  
Blogger claire said...

>I'd like to think I'm not one, but >all of us, at least in some small >way, take advantage of the people >around us.

>We writers really are not >trustworthy.

Good Lord, we know that. I have spent most of my adult life around writers and I know that if I tell a story I damned well better to be able to let that one go because it most likely will wind up in someone's fiction.

You can't help it. And we wouldn't want you to. Besides, you make our stories _ever_ so much more interesting...


April 25, 2006 11:19 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

I thought the other interesting thing that felt very acurate to me was the way Capote clearly felt that he could do all this and somehow not get touched. As if he could be an observer without being a participant. The movie suggests that In Cold Blood destroyed Capote. I don't know about that. But I can believe the false sense of being not really involved in the events.

April 26, 2006 9:12 AM  
Blogger mary grimm said...

I didn't believe at all the Capote was destroyed by ICB--I think it just seemed like a good way to wind up the movie. The end was the part of the movie that seemed most false to me.

April 26, 2006 10:08 AM  
Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

There is little question that alcoholism destroyed Truman Capote, that and pills.

Since he seemed to work steadily until the completion of In Cold Blood, you could make a case that the stresses of that book led to his alcoholism. It was nine years until he began to publish bits of Answered Prayers in Esquire. But one of them made him a pariah among the rich whose company he so coveted, and by most accounts, that destroyed him.

Nobody can say with assurance. Human lives are too complex to be reduced to the tag at the end of a movie.

April 27, 2006 7:10 AM  

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