Holidays Capote-Style by da-AL

Gentle and cruel, personal and universal — writer / novelist / artist / actor / personality Truman Capote captured the holiday season to a “T”-ruman in his “A Christmas Memory.”

A lifelong bestie of another of my beloved authors, Harper Lee of “To Kill a Mockingbird” renown, Truman grew up queer during times when that wasn’t allowed. Hell, it’s still not allowed, not really despite the two-steps-forward/one-step-back strides that humanity has been making lately.

Truman Capote at 23, thanks to Wikipedia.
Truman Capote at 23, thanks to Wikipedia.

I happened upon Truman’s “A Christmas Memory” by chance. It’s part of his book, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s: a Short Novel and Three Short Stories,” the whole volume of which is mind-blowing. His print version of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is nothing less than enchanting for how it captures the heartbreaking nuances of love and friendship, particularly between a gay man and a straight woman. (Incidentally, another book I adore along those same lines is “The Object of My Affection,” by Stephen McCauley. That novel as well is much more profound in print than in the film.)

Poster for "Breakfast at Tiffany's" from Wikipedia.
Poster for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” from Wikipedia.

Please don’t judge “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by its movie version. It’s stunning because of Audrey Hepburn, her iconic dress by Hubert de Givenchy, and so forth — but its racism toward Asians is deplorable. Moreover, it’s nowhere near as deep as the fabulous book. Unfortunately, Truman seems to have actively prostituted his masterpiece novella to Hollywood. Why? Was it due to his tragic and increasingly alcoholic life?

Truman Capote, four years before his too early death. Thank you Wikipedia
Truman Capote, four years before he passed away. Thank you Wikipedia.

The story in its p.r.i.n.t.e.d. form reminds me of how this whole pandemic situation has upended our holiday season, yet in some ways “righted” them. This year I’m extra thrilled that my dear ones are in good health. I’m happier for the smaller gestures. Living “sheltered-in-place,” I’m reminded that even though we can feel alone, we never really are.

Writer/novelist/artist/actor/personality Truman Capote.
Writer/novelist/artist/actor/personality Truman Capote.

No matter how poorly we feel and badly we are treated, one kindred face can make all the difference. Here in this vintage video, Truman doesn’t tell us this — his story enables us to feel it…

How are your holidays unique this year?

42 thoughts on “Holidays Capote-Style by da-AL

  1. Capote seems like a wonderful author. As for the Hollywood sellout, it is the fate of most books turned film, no? Hoping you had a lovely Christmas and it is nice to know you have been enjoying the little things and making most of the stay-at-home experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sometime in the 80s we saw Truman Capote read this story at the the University of Alabama. I can’t remember exactly what building it was in. But at the end when we left the room everyone in the audience was in tears.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Christmas will always be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand.” – Quote by Dr. Seuss

    Have a wonderful Christmas and joyous days ahead with warm laughter. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wish you and your husband a merry Christmas and all the best for the coming new year. Thank you for the link. I actually saw a movie about Capote, which was also very interesting.
    We got the band together this evening for an hour or so, that was something unusual for Christmas. 😉 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Christmas is usually very busy with a scratch and dent group of friends coming for breakfast and then family for the traditional dinner early evening. Personalities! Competitions for attention! Older family members making untoward comments! And so on it goes. But this year….just my husband and me. Bliss! No stress! We did video chats with children and grandchildren and they are all healthy and well. Our daughter is having to deal with the extended family and the crusty elders. But this year….not us. So all in all it has been excellent.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’ve seen the movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” but I’ve never read any of Capote’s work. Sounds like I have to change that. Thanks for sharing the video link to his “A Christmas Memory.” During this Christmas of social distancing, I hold onto the many happy Christmas memories 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The best scene in the movie, I think, is when Holly (Audrey Hepburn) lets herself into Paul’s (George Peppard) bedroom window at 4 AM. What we get is 8 minutes of brilliant, suggestive dialogue that is better than anything in Capote’s book version. I’m amazed that this scene made it to the screen in 1961. Paul is shirtless in bed, probably nude under the covers. No one mentions Peppard’s fine performance, or how handsome and muscular he was in that scene. It’s the beginning of the unlikely romance between a “call girl” and a “kept man.” The themes of the entire movie are in that one scene.

    Liked by 4 people

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