Thursday, 18 September 2008

The Truman Letters II


Well, Truman, it's been over a year now since I asked you those questions back in July 2007, and I'm afraid I still haven't found many answers. Some, yes, but not many. My apologies for not having sat down with In Cold Blood yet, but don't you worry, Mr Capote, I won't fail you. I have, however, had time to read about you, and some internet users have even had the good grace to put clips of you on YouTube. You were, are, and always will be a fascinating man to say the least.

After reading up, I found you wanted to take literature in a new direction with In Cold Blood, that of the non-fiction novel. That much I can understand. But some of the people in the novel - and we're talking about real people here, Mr Capote, with thoughts and feelings - say there are factual inaccuracies in the book. What was the deal with that? Was that part of your nastier side coming out, an effort to cause a stir, or just the writer in you? Or is someone trying to save face here?

The book I read also stated that you did have feelings for one of the convicted killers, that you somehow identified with him because he'd had an equally difficult childhood as yourself. And that the title itself wasn't a reference to the crimes for which the pair were sentenced to death, but to their punishment by the State. Were these also motivation for the book? My guess now is that you wanted to leave a legacy, or at least a record, of the life of someone who the whole world was against except you, to let them know that somebody understood what they'd been through, that they did matter to somebody. Am I right? How can I ever know?

I know now that you really did want to be famous. You loved it, didn't you? All the parties, all the wild nights and the glamour. That meant a lot to you. But it all went wrong. You went too far by selling your friends' lives in your books, peddling gossip and intimacies in your fiction. That's when the problems started. You lived as a writer and died as a writer. It's a shame, a real shame, because you really did have the world at your feet, Mr Capote. Why did you throw it all away?

The sad part is that you were a victim, too. Someone who could be sure to entertain party guests, someone who could make a party a success. People tolerated your gossipy nature if they thought there was something in it for them. Only a few people really stuck by your side through thick and thin. How the world moves in mysterious ways.

Mr Capote, it's been a pleasure sharing some thoughts with you. I'm sure I'll have more thoughts and questions in the future. If there really is some place up in the sky where we can all meet together, I look forward to seeing you some day and securing the answers I've been seeking.

Better still, maybe you can give me some tips on where I'm going wrong with my own writing. But if you don't feel like it, then. just like all those people at the parties, the balls and the crazy, crazy nights, I'll be happy simply to sit and listen to what you have to say.

Yours with curiosity,

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