Sunday, July 3, 2011

In Praise, But Not in Too Much Praise, of a Fabulous Man: Truman Capote


Remember that time I said Cormac McCarthy is better than you and me and everyone else? Well, there's another fellow that's better too. I'm in the midst of reading one of his novels right now and while his writing is poignant and swell and clearly depicts figures of human existence and blah blah blah, I think the main reason he's so fabulous (sorry about using such a cliche gay boy word, but let's face it, it's an appropriate word) is because of his persona and routines.

Truman Capote is his name as if you haven't already read the post header. Here he is at the apex of his cuteness:

Yeah yeah yeah I already posted this, but it's worth a double take. Also, I'm going to talk about it, so take a third look. Done? Okay. Hold on, I'm still looking. He's looking back at me. Not you. Me specifically. Alright. This photograph was taken by Harold Hama in 1947 for the jacket of Capote's novel Other Voices, Other Rooms. I'm reading that right now so don't talk about it in the comments. Apparently this photo caused a huge ruckus, good and bad. Andy Warhol, pop-art prince of the 1960s, instantly befriended Capote. Old women gasped and clamped their gloved hands over their grandchildren's eyes when passing book stores and the LA Times said Capote looked "as if he were dreamily contemplating some outrage against conventional morality."

Well, let's face it. He probably was. The year was 1947. Truman Capote was openly gay.

What's great is that he didn't do much to hide it. He was flamboyant and crass and basically me except he had a job at The New Yorker by age 17 and was contracted by big wig Random House to write his first novel in 1946 after his piece, "Miriam", won the O. Henry Award for best first published story.

I had to stop writing and take a gulp of my roman coke because I am currently furious with envy. Sorry if you're offended I drink. You probably understand. Planting petunias gets to a person. Also, I hope you have read my other entries, because I like using those inside jokes that only will be outside if you're familiar with my other posts.

Sorry, distracted. Anyone got some Adderall? Boy, if that Gay and Lesbian Review really does decide to check this out, they'll probably copy and paste a form rejection to be sent to my form rejection landfill email as fast as you can ask "Why the hell couldn't I be friends with Harper Lee?"

Well, guess who was friends with Harper Lee? Truman Capote, that's who. You remember Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird? He was based off Capote. Idabel, a fiesty and crass (word of the day) scoundrel in Other Voices, Other Rooms was based off Lee. The two grew up together in Alabama and Lee eventually helped a great deal in Capote's research for his creative non-fiction work, In Cold Blood. She's even part of the movie based on the book's research process entitled quite simply Capote. They're pictured together to the right to the right (Mom's been having a Beyonce day).

Capote was also friends with Carson McCullers, writer of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Only no he wasn't and this is why maybe I don't want to be Truman Capote, but just Nick Sawatsky.

"I don't care what anybody says about me as long as it isn't true."
— Truman Capote

Capote brought to the literary circle of the time an air of Hollywood exclusivity and glamour. He held the infamous Black and White Ball, an event so big that entire books were written about it. The thing is this: Capote treated the ball a type of narcissism. He dangled invites and ultimately snubbed a lot of former friends, including McCullers. It was from here that Capote spiraled. Sometime after In Cold Blood he stopped being a writer and started being a celebrity. He drank in excess, did too many hard drugs, and frequented talk shows. He was kind of like Lindsay Lohan, but jail and thievery wasn't as chic then as it is now.

Sadly, Capote died of liver cancer at just 59 years old.

I just splashed the remains of my roman coke in the sink to be dramatic, but then I realized no one was watching me and now my buzz is dull and this whole comment is in bad taste, but Capote would probably like it so I'm keeping it.

Ultimately, Capote only published three novel length works (Other Voices Other Rooms, The Grass Harp, and In Cold Blood) as well as the famous novella, Breakfast at Tiffany's. There were sprinkled short stories and anthologies throughout his career and a few manuscripts made it to shelves posthumously, but I still gotta sigh. I mean, he has his pal Harper Lee beat, but she was always notorious for writing manuscripts and trunking them as she felt they couldn't surpass Mockingbird. I don't see Capote having that problem. I feel like he became distracted by himself, but how can we be surprised? His first major reaction from the world was based in a photograph of himself.

So what's the verdict? You gonna hit up Half-Priced Books/Amazon/B&N/Whateva to check this cat out? Already fan? Let me know in the comments!

"But I'm not a saint yet. I'm an alcoholic. I'm a drug addict. I'm homosexual. I'm a genius."
— Truman Capote

Thanks for reading,

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