Gnomicon 046

If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.

Gnomicon  046
U 15 Apr 2012

Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.
Truman Capote (30 Sep 1924 – 25 Aug 1984)

No shrinking violet he, this ‘tiny terror’ (he was 5’3”) is probably best known as the author of the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958 – the movie came out in 1961) and In Cold Blood (1966 – the movie came out in 1967).  He was, in my view, a first-rate writer with a strong sense of the rhythms of American English, a delight to read for his use of language alone.  Towards the end of his life he went hard on pills and booze, and made a spectacle of himself during some notorious appearances on the era’s late-night shows, at times so intoxicated as hardly to make any sense.

For all that, I always found him vastly amusing.  He had a very quick way with words, often in the service of slicing quips about others – for example, of the work of a writer he deemed inferior he offered this acidulous comment: “That isn’t writing at all, it’s typing.”

The hyperbolic narcissism of the epigraph strikes me as somehow very ‘Capote’ and probably meant as much in jest as in seriousness.  Is there, after all, any writer anywhere who has not – honestly — at one time or another been simply overwhelmed by astonishment at the sheer brilliance of a phrase or sentence or paragraph that somehow has issued from her fertile mind?


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