I watched the movie, Capote, for the first time tonight.
It was incredible, to say the least. And, to say the most, well, I guess that is why I am writing in the first place.
I felt a connection to Capote in a particular way - in a dangerous way, perhaps. We both seem to be searching for a feeling or an experience to lend itself to inspiration - that could lead to a beautiful piece of writing. Where we differ - and I believe it is simply because of his lack of restraint - is that he manipulated people to get what he wanted, to an extreme extent toward the end. But, I could see myself easily getting there; it is quite the slippery slope. You merely find the one thing a person desires most - which is always hidden deep within, stashed away, only revealed to those who are artful enough to wrestle it from its chains, intertwined somewhere between darkness and that thick fog of gray - and once you establish that vulnerability, you slyly maneuver forward like a panther waiting for the perfect moment to pounce. Only, this is action is not a pounce. No. It is as if your prey turns over on its back, willing to offer itself up to your whim.
It’s quite dark, but I get it. I’ve never truly done it, but I know how. And, it seems that Capote had been testing fate by taking in so much horror for the sake of a story. It “comforted” him, he darkly stated, but he didn’t intend for himself to fall victim to the power of that same vulnerability.
For his book, In Cold Blood, he became invested in Perry, a killer of a family of 4 in Kansas. So invested that people wondered if, in fact, he fell in love. But, vulnerability, as I said before, is a sly cat waiting for the right moment. So, he went on being his arrogant, self-indulgent persona, ignoring humanity for the chance at the perfect story. There was a change, however, when he got too close, when he made is prey so intensely vulnerable that he finally opened up and told him how he killed the family. Perry intricately, and emotionally, detailed the events of November 4, 1959, a single tear trailing down his nose and onto his lip. Capote shocked by the complete openness and graphic description, he removes his glasses, dabbing his eyes.
He, then, leaves, stops paying for Perry’s lawyer, ignores all of his letters, and turns to alcohol as the remedy for his newfound emotional trigger: a horror too big even for him to withstand.
Once Perry’s appeal is finally denied by the Supreme Court of Kansas, Capote takes the time to visit him before he is to be executed. He sobers up from his drunken stupor, dresses himself, and goes to meet Perry to talk to him for the last time. Immediately, as he walks into the room, Capote’s face turns red - the kind of red where the agony of attempting to hold back from such overwhelming emotion is splashed across your face. He begins to speak, the muscles in his throat gripping tightly, but after only 30 seconds, he can no longer bare it. Tears flow from his eyes, his breath becomes irregular, and he says, “I did everything I could. I truly did.” And, when the warden returns to signal his 5 minutes were up, he turns to Perry, words caught in his throat. “Goodbye” is all he can manage to utter. The warden calls for him again, and again, and he shoots out a breathy whisper: “Goodbye…goodbye.”
After that, Capote never finished a book again. He refused to write articles. He did not accept interviews. He just drank. And, drank. Drank until he died because of it. It had been too much. He had tested his boundaries and ran too far.
I guess there must be a lesson in all of this. No matter how much we would like to escape it, we are not invincible. It’s a problem for us intellectual creative types. We scour for inspiration until we have soaked up too much; our eyes unable to unsee the horrors of our gluttonous desire to know. Watch out. Do not let it get to that space. That space - you know it - where you can easily go, if you chose to let that guard down. That dark space where evil lurks and fills your entire body with sweet yet deadly pleasure. For if ever you indulge in that space, thinking you need it when desperate for inspiration, it is certain that, though it may feel like truth and though it may satisfy that initial thirst, it will destroy you. So, tread lightly and be careful of your gift, because it has a dark side unlike any other.