Mr. Truman Capote. His stories make me feel selfish. They are so beautiful … and so very haunting. Sometimes, when I am bundled up in the big chair that sits quietly in the corner of my room, my little dog breathing deeply next to my left leg, I marvel at how I can possibly go through entire days not seeing the world as beautiful as he must have seen it every time he wrote.
Thus far, my favorite story of his is “A Christmas Memory.” Less than twenty pages long, it is still able to make me cry and laugh and marvel every time I read it. In fact, the first time I read this story (bundled up in that same big chair), I had not realized I was crying so loudly until my fiancé came into the room in a panic, asking what was wrong. After a few embarrassed wipes of my palm over my tear-stained cheeks, I explained to him that nothing was wrong; I was just completely and utterly moved by the story I had just read. He smiled lovingly, kissed me, and went off to continue watching television with my nephew.
Lonely might not be the right word when describing how I feel after reading one of Mr. Capote’s stories, but it comes close. There is a tremendous difficulty in trying to explain to someone how moving a story or a character or a scene is in a novel that they have never read, and will probably never find the time to read. In a way, it makes me sad for the author himself. For what state of mind must he have been in to write such a tale? How much angst must he have gone through when he knew he had no choice but to decide the fate of his characters? He gives them such life (such incredible life!) that there is no doubt in my mind that they are as real to him as you or I.
It is widely know that Truman Capote was a very unique character, and that in itself is stating it mildly. He was only too aware of this himself; but what I wouldn’t give to have a single moment to thank him for so many things he has given me through his work: a large slice of humble pie, an appreciation for life, courage to covet those things in life that the majority turn their noses upon, like an unwavering sense of humor, the freedom to dream and think as a child, undying hope, and of course, the realization that everything comes with a beginning, a middle, and (more importantly) a bittersweet end.
For those who have never read one of Mr. Capote’s novels or short stories, I highly recommend they do. If I have learned anything through his work it is this: Live. Live without the conviction of being judged by your fellow human. Live with a hunger and passion for life, because all too soon, those breathless moments when you first knew you were in love, or that sense of empowerment when you felt free for the first time in your life, or even that glimpse you shared with a stranger upon a train you will never board again, will be gone like the wonderful dreams we try desperately to cling to upon waking. Live.