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Susan Ito trying to do it all: reading writing mothering spousing daughtering working living

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Capote and Me

This week we finally rented and viewed Capote, since both girls were out of the house and we didn't think it was something they would particularly enjoy. We've been on a real movie-watching binge around here. The night before we watched Transamerica, which I thought was fantastic. And the girls rented Aquamarine, which I thought was going to be totally stupid and I didn't want to watch, but they talked me into it anyway, and I laughed my head off. It was cute.

Anyway, back to Capote. I was completely and totally engrossed, as I usually am when I'm watching movies about writers. I hadn't ever read In Cold Blood, and didn't really know much about him at all, although I love To Kill A Mockingbird and I was intrigued and impressed by the Harper Lee character.

The Capote figure was both endearing and repulsive, which I guess is supposed to be the point. I stared at the screen while he was typing away, and I thought, I really need to get a typewriter, or at least a computer that does not have Internet access. Would he really have been able to write that book on a Powerbook with links to New York gossip and restaurant reviews and discussion boards and blogs and god knows what else pulls me away from Microsoft Word every five seconds? It takes a strong person. But I was seduced by the image of him and that manual typewriter and the two piles of typing paper; the overturned finished pages, and the clean, blank ones that he slid into the roller. It all looked so neat, and so straightforward: writing.

One of the final shots, with the epigraph from his last, unpublished and unfinished book, brought tears to my eyes.

More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered prayers.

And after the movie scrolled into darkness, J turned to me and said, "I saw a lot of you in him." I hated to admit that I felt a lot of him in me, too, and I've been trying to sort that out all week. Am I really that neurotic? Vulnerable? Messed up? Are all writers? I don't know. I just feel like I've been walking around with the shadow of Truman Capote trailing me all week.


Blogger melanie said...

i also really felt that movie. I actually wished I could be MORE like Capote, more into my work like he was. There is another film about the process of writing In Cold Blood called "Infamous." Sandra Bullock plays Harper Lee - and I heard she is wonderful.

There's a link to a review on Rockslinga's blog...that's where I heard about it:

Look at July 9 post.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 10:44:00 AM

Blogger Frances said...

I loved Capote so much I went out and read the book the movie is based on, Truman Capote by Gerald Clarke. I highly recommend it, as it presents a much more complex portrait of writing "In Cold Blood."

We went on a movie kick, too, while on vacation in Tahoe. I can recommend Ice Harvest, (a bit violent, but great) Shopgirl by Steve Martin, An Unfinished Life with Morgan Freeman, Robert Redford, and Jennifer Lopez and Last Holiday with Queen Latifah. (really! It's a great family movie)

Thursday, July 20, 2006 11:04:00 AM

Blogger Masha said...

you know, that's such an interesting comment from J, and of course he knows you so well, but I don't know that I would agree with that. Capote, as portrayed in this movie, put the work first. He felt the emotions, but -- for better or worse-- he still made the book the most important thing. I think this is exactly where you two differ. I think you've sometimes held back on the work because of the emotions and interpersonal relations. Just a thought. xom

Saturday, July 22, 2006 5:28:00 PM

Blogger C(h)ristine said...

am i the only writer who was repulsed by what i saw on screen? :) i so don't want to be like that. which is probably why my work suffers to some extent, my heart is divided between my work and my connection to people.

Monday, August 14, 2006 4:16:00 PM


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