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?

About Molly Newman

Writer, cook and trivia/spelling bee hostess, living it up in North Portland.
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3 Responses to Capote

  1. Angi says:

    Don’t ask me…I finished one. Years ago. And there hasn’t been another. And the one I finished isn’t going to do anything at this point but collect dust. LOL. And I’m at the stage of allure/terror of starting again.

  2. Amy Sorensen says:

    I think that maybe all writers feel this way…what if the well runs dry? I think in the end, all we can do is the thing we can do, if that makes sense. If I wrote one good book, and it was well-written and successful, and never could write another one? Well, I’d be discouraged and depressed, of course, but also would know how lucky I had been to just write that ONE.
    Anyway…I giggled at your comment about “The Shining.” Too funny.

  3. I’ve started writing two books… and ditched both projects because I do have the fear of completion. The “then what”. Really, isn’t that such a theme in everything? You crank out something great (in any field or form) and people expect more, better, now. No wonder we are such an anxiety prone nation!

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