Monday, January 31, 2011

Guest Blogger

The wonderfully talented JP wrote something for you guys since Charlie and I have been unable to come up with anything to write about.  Let me know if there's anything you guys would like to discuss!!

So near my house is a bookstore that I walk to ever so often whenever I feel a bit sad. Something about the smell of paper…Anyways, it was one of these visits did I discover a biography of writer and all around badass Truman Capote. I’m not really a fan of biographies or memoirs. I think those writers try to analyze people lives like they would a fiction book where everything is meaningful in such a convenient way; whereas, the reality is that people deal with a lot of random and sucky crap.

What I liked about the Capote bio was that author, Gerard Clarke, didn’t try to explain or contextualize all the sucky crap that happened to Capote. And there was a whole lot of sucky crap.

First of all, he was gay. Which sucks in itself if you’re growing up in the early 1940s. He was abandoned by both his father and later his mother. He was molested by other high school boys. He was rejected by his family for being too effeminate. Even when he gained fame and fortune for writing “Breakfast at Tiffanys” and “In Cold Blood” he soon became an alcoholic and died a much too early death.

However, what I learned most about the life of Truman Capote (besides, ya’ know, stay away from the booze) was to be honest: in my writing and life. Capote was such a great writer and so worth doing a biography about because he was fearless when talking about his problems like his loneliness. I think when he made up his characters, he gave a little of himself to them: his insecurity, his alcohol abuse, his abandonment issues. I don’t know if it was therapeutic for him, but it made his stories much more authentic and therefore more compelling to read.

However, where he succeeded in his writing, he failed in his personal life. He never told people about his problems and in doing so he became self-destructive.

I think one of my favorite quotes by Capote has to be in “Breakfast at Tiffanys” where the main character Holly talks about her sadness. I think it’s my favorite because the words are simple, yet the pain is evident.

“Never love a wild thing.... He was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can't give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they're strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That's how you'll end up.... If you let yourself love a wild thing. You'll end up looking at the sky.”

Maybe I didn't know Capote, but I sure do hear him.

Thanks, JP, for this lovely post!