Thursday, October 20, 2005

Capote

"Of many magics, one is watching a beloved sleep: free of eyes and awareness, you for a sweet moment hold the heart of him; helpless, he is then all, however irrationally, you have trusted him to be, man-pure, child-tender."

- Truman Capote

So much has been said and written about Capote's status as a celebrity, as (dare I say it?) a social phenomenon, that it's often hard to remember that he was, also and more importantly, a writer of considerable talent. This line, from an extract from his newly discovered first novel 'Summer Crossing' that appears in this week's New Yorker (sadly unavailable to non-subscribers) is a good example of the almost playful richness of his prose. It's a line that's simply thrown away in the middle of a crowded paragraph, but that nevertheless manages to sing with its own quiet exuberance. For anyone who's ever watched a love one sleeping the connection is immediate, exact.

I am reminded of an Atwood poem:

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head...

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

Sigh. That's one more book I'm going to have to buy.

14 comments:

DoZ said...

"I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary."
I am not that into poetry, but these are amongst my favorite lines... A new Capote? I have to buy the new Seth, too... Many uses of funds - now, if only I had as many sources...

Mrudula said...

Many thanks. I don't know if it has arrived at book shops here. I'll pick it up. Capote is brilliant.

absolutely clueless said...

Doz, try Falstaff's funding strategy...it goes like this...
1st u "accidentally" send out ur amazon wishlist 2 friends...with ur delivery address pre-saved (!!!)...
and when that doesnt work (well, not everyones an angel like moi), u resort to "i want this book" posts on ur blog!!!!
subtlety, my dear Falstaff...they say its a virtue!

Falstaff said...

Doz: I know, I know. The worst part is I don't think it's possible to get enough sources - the more money I have the more books I end up buying.

Mrudula: Actually, the book isn't out yet - it's going to be released at some point in November. The New Yorker story is a bit of a preview, much like they did earlier this year with Coetzee's Slow Man.

Clueless: Hey, if it works, don't knock it. Also, you do realise that most people actually take the trouble to think up gifts for other people - instead of demanding that wishlists be sent to them so that they can just pay the credit card charge and get it over with.

Also, who wants to be on the side of virtue anyway. I'd much rather be on the side of vice. I just don't have the opportunities.

absolutely clueless said...

hmm...
so wat xactly were u doing in class wen they were teaching comparative advantage theory, huh?
u think, me earn...
u tarzan, me no jane...
also...tch tch....poor baby :)!

meditativerose said...

you poor kids ... you realise you're not even in the same ballpark as me, right? The best thing to do is diversify your sources across core competencies, i.e. pick friends who have taste, and those who have money. Then get the friends with taste to select gifts that the friends with money will pay for. (and I'm just talking books here. Let's not even get into other .. ahem .. gifts ;) )

absolutely clueless said...

yes honey, lets NOT!!!
u and ur harem stay away frm me plezz!!!

meditativerose said...

ah .. do I detect a spot of jealousy cloaked in moral indignation??
;)

absolutely clueless said...

nah...i was *born* morally indignant....characterless friends like u just make sure i dont convert!!!
ps- shd we switch 2 email now, MR?

Falstaff said...

MR: Yes, honey, we know you know who (or what) a girl's best friend is. So do people who give you these gifts count as people with money or people with taste?

Clueless: Last time I checked total lack of opportunity was not a moral standard, but have it your way.

meditativerose said...

Let's just say that money dominates taste (they can always be 'guided' to make the right choice). Will have to fall back on taste once the money isn't an option ...

Also, nice one about opportunity .. didn't want to rub it in .. though I guess you're not as nice as I am ;)

i(a)m-morally clueless said...

no no...opportunity is the easy bit for most of us (u, my dear, have evolution 2 blame)...
its the lack of *interest* thats the problem...

Heh Heh said...

MR, Falstaff, Clueless. You will all burn in hell.
Oh how i hate this world..
~the grump

Accidental Fame Junkie said...

Priceless lines... I didn't know that Capote captured such gossamer emotions at all! Thanks for the information. Capote, for me, was always the one who started Literary Non-fiction with that chillingly true work "In Cold Blood."