Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Best Words This Week: From Truman Capote. Kind Of. But Not Really.

I had a whole big idea for a post for Best Words This Week involving just one word I had been thinking about all week, but then I finished The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin and when I came across this passage, I knew this was what I would write about instead.

If you're not familiar with the book, it's a fictionalization of the friendship of Truman Capote and New York socialite Barbara Cushing Mortimer Paley.  At one time the two were the closest of close friends, then Capote wrote a story for Esquire which exposed secrets he was privy to because of their friendship.  It was billed as "fiction", but many knew who he based it on. Considering it the ultimate betrayal, Paley and her other socialite friends cut Capote out of their lives forever.  It was the last thing Capote ever published.  This quote comes from a point where the two start to drift apart because of Paley's battle with lung cancer and Truman's addictions and hunger for fame but before his story "La Côte Basque 1965" was published in Esquire.

I loved this book, BTW.

"But were she and Truman as close as before?

Babe would have answered yes, unhesitatingly.  Truman would have declared, "Of course we are, I love Babe more than anyone in the world, she's my dearest, dearest friend!" But it was a affirmation based on the past, not the present. The present wasn't recognizable or palatable to either of them; she was too ill, he was too self-destructive. Like so many they chose not to recognize themselves in the mirror, but as old photographs, scrapbooks, shared memories."


I loved this because so often this is the case with relationships.  "But it was an affirmation based on the past, not the present."  I don't necessarily think that's a bad way to go, if you drift apart from someone you were once close to.  Time and circumstances have a way with changing things in a relationship that are sometimes the fault of no one.  These words stopped me short - The mirror or the scrapbook?  Neither is necessarily negative, but are we always honest with ourselves about which one we choose to recognize ourselves in?


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