Writer vs. Artist — The third pass . . .

Truman Capote

Truman Capote

Every diversion is an incursion to somewhere else . . .

Lately, I’ve been reading Truman Capote–what he wrote himself, and what’s been written about him. The man was interesting. Not everything about him was admirable by conventional standards; likely not admirable by any standards–in the end, even his own. But that’s one of the things about Truman Capote–he seemed to make the waves in his own personal sea. He was interesting.

After awhile, reading a man like that becomes tiring. The mind becomes tired when one’s moral compass swings wildly trying to keep up with the little man in the white hat, the bigger-than-life titan– anyone who parts waves in his own personal sea can be called a titan, the lyricist writer-cum-amoralist, the exibitionist-cum-burnt-out genius.

Reading non-stop Capote, for a person like me, is an incursion–a journey to place I didn’t really want to go; to a place I really didn’t really want to consider as I drop off to sleep. But I’m glad I did it–I should say glad I’m doing it, because I’m not done yet. I’m still reading Truman’s short stories. Yes, we’re on a first-name basis.


Truman in large doses, however, is really a bit too much: too much to think about. For instance, passing through one beau monde after another, albeit vicariously, leaves you feeling like you’ve passed through too many times zones quickly. It simply requires one to take some time off which, actually, is what Truman did himself from time to time.

In my case, I just finished reading the Robert B. Parker novel Resolution: a good story; a quick read; and a wonderful character study workshop.

And there it is again! The dichotomous question and, for the moment, my personal fixation: Artist vs. Writer.

robertbparker2Parker is a writer. A very good writer. A writer to read and keep reading. His books make wonderful screenplays. But artist? No. His words take you to a make-believe world; interesting, but make-believe. From Parker you are entertained for awhile and then returned to yourself exactly as you were before.

Capote is an artist. His words take you to an interior world; not quite make-believe, a scary but recognizable world. From Capote, you become more than you were.

Will there ever be another Truman Capote? There never will. But you  know, I sincerely hope that somewhere, sometime there is another writer about whom it can be said, “he/she parts the waves in his/her own personal sea.” Someone who rides life like a wave, and has a good ride.

Mona L S Baisch