We just watched this movie last night. Jim finished reading "In Cold Blood" a few days ago, and I read it in college, then re-read bits and pieces over Jim’s shoulder. So we were both kind of in that Truman mode.
I haven’t seen many movies about writers. Kind of a boring subject for a movie, really–who wants to watch some guy sitting at his typewriter/computer alternately staring blankly, pounding the keys frantically and swearing prodigiously? (And "The Shining" doesn’t count as a movie about a writer. Really, it barely counts as a movie.)
But the one thing that stood out to me–a random, almost throwaway detail–was the scene where, while in Costa Brava, Spain, Capote’s sweetheart Jack Dunphy has gone to the market and gotten all kinds of lovely food in preparation for "Nelle" Harper Lee’s visit. And, as he goes back into the house, he mentions offhandedly:
"I finished a novel last night."
He finished it. Not puttered around some more, or came up with a couple of good ideas, or cranked out a few damn fine paragraphs. He finished it.
Then a short time later, we see Truman talking with his editor William Shawn about the book. And Shawn says, "This book will change the way people write."
Which was true.
Capote called it "The book I was meant to write." And he never finished another book.
The power of words: to build and destroy, to reinvent and reform and recalculate and redefine, to change our perceptions of an underprivileged murderer hanged for his crimes more than forty years ago.
There is allure in finishing… but there is also something terrifying about the concept.
How do you know, when you’ve finished one, that there will be another?