Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Remembering... Truman Capote

'Happiness leaves such slender records; it is the dark days [that] are so voluminously documented.' So wrote Truman Capote amongst the notes he made for his unfinished and indeed unfinishable magnum opus, Answered Prayers. It's a telling statement, shining light into the darkest days of his life, which came as it was ending; from out of all of life's lessons, one can choose to heed the good or the bad - Capote chose the bad, and so followed a pill-strewn path beside a river of booze to an early grave...

PhotobucketTo such a reckless sybarite as Capote, talent was a hindrance, one he overcame with bitterness and apathy; for all that his talent had given him, in the end he chose to return the favour by giving it nothing back in return, at which point it dwindled away till it was gone.

Sensing the end of his life was near, and bullied into the will to live by his well-meaning friends, Capote made his last journey - to California, to visit Joanne Carson - only a few days before he died. It was on this day in 1984 she came to wake him; finding him physically listless she sat with him, whereupon he talked for hours as he drifted into unconsciousness, at which point he died. Although the coroner could find 'no clear mechanism of death', those with poetry in their soul will know that, although he'd once lived with a fervour startling to onlookers, in the end, Truman Capote had simply lost the will to live.

However those who knew him chose to remember him - whether as a bitchy viper or an oddity or an artist of towering talent (and he was indeed all of these and more besides) - the finest memorial he received was Gerald Clarke's detailed, warts-and-all biography, published in 1988.
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