In the winter of 1959, Capote appeared on David Susskind’s program, Open End, to talk about writers and writing in general. When The Beat Generation was mentioned, Capote quickly attacked it. “None of these people have anything interesting to say and none of them can write, not even Mr. Kerouac….It isn’t writing at all-it’s typing,” Capote commented.
That response, “It isn’t writing, it’s typing,” stuck with Jack Kerouac until he died in 1969.
I became interested in Jack Kerouac years ago and have read most of his books, as well as several books about the author. I was always curious about that comment and why Capote would say something like that. Recently, I read some research about Truman Capote and think I now have some things figured out.
In the fall of 1958, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s was the talk of the town. His character, “Holly Golightly” was an instant classic and many women in Capote’s life were claiming to be the person the character was based on. While his book was an instant hit, Jack Kerouac’s On The Road was released in the fall of 1957 and slowly built up a following. Jack Kerouac and some of his friends were becoming known as The Beat Generation of writers, a whole new ‘brotherhood’ of sorts. Kerouac himself was getting a lot of attention for the new style of writing that he created, called ‘spontaneous prose’.
Truman Capote, abandoned by his parents at young age to be raised with his cousins, always wanted attention and love. He decided very early on that he was going to be ‘the most famous writer ever’ and methodically set out to do so. Most of what Capote did was carefully planned and thought out, but one thing that he did not like was someone else getting more attention than him. At the time, Breakfast at Tiffany’s was at its height, Kerouac and the Beats were writers getting attention as well, and taking it away from Capote.
I think Capote made that flip comment to try and dismiss Kerouac’s popularity, and yet he knew at the same time he was famous enough for the quote to be repeated. Capote did not like Kerouac getting all of the attention, yet created a way to get his name in the press two-fold. Now, people were not only talking about Capote, but every time they would talk about Kerouac, the quote ‘It isn’t writing, it’s typing’ would be attached with Capote as critic.
It is, also, interesting to note that this is when Capote began on his mission of creating a new form of writing himself. Later that year, he began working on what became In Cold Blood.
Was Capote just jealous of Kerouac? Jealous of the press his fellow writer and friends were getting? Jealous of Kerouac’s creation of a new writing form, ‘spontaneous prose’?
may add more pieces about Author Feuds if you like this. Let me know what you think. Any feuds you know of and like?
I am curious to know how people choose their reading selections. Do you choose the books you read by the author? “Oh my God! Author X has a new book out and I must read it!” *followed by a gasp of air* Do you randomly pick a book because you think the cover looks nice, discovering you like the author so much that you immediately read all the author’s other books until you’ve gone through all of them and then need to pick someone else?
Or do you even pick your books by author? Do you just pick books by subject or style (i.e. crime novels, poetry, trashy fun)?
I tend to read more by author. Some of my favorites are Harlan Coben, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Jack Kerouac, Augusten Burroughs, Jeffrey Deaver. I have also enjoyed many of Stephen King and early John Grisham. Sadly, I don’t seem to read a lot of female authors. Not sure why.
The only time I tend to not go by author is if I am reading biography or history books, which I tend to be having more and more of a fascination with lately. I tend to read more about popular authors, then the actual work they’ve written. Is that weird?
Anyway, let me know how you choose your books and tell my whom your favorite authors are. Why? And if you have a suggestion of someone I should check out, by all means, let me know.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
excerpt from A POET as in “A POET and Other Poems” B. Alan Fleming available at www.amazon.com as a kindle book.
…Do people still listen to a poet?
If so, they don’t tend to show it.
People talk about that guy, Eminem.
I am far better at words than him.
(I am better looking too, but I digress.)
He runs that mouth of his off
and everyone tends to scoff.
What the Hell is he trying to say?
Why is he always acting that way?
Is it because of him that no one likes rap?
That stuff isn’t poetry, that stuff is crap.
A true poet can get a point through
without having to wave a finger at you….
I am working on my first novella to be released on Amazon in April. It is a story set at the fictional mental institute in Millinocket, Maine, and the arrival of its new doctor, Billy Ramsey. Dr. Ramsey moves to the remote area of Maine after graduating college for his first job. Not having heard of Millinocket before his job offer through the school, Billy soon wishes he had never heard of the place at all because once he arrives he finds himself in the middle of a bizarre plot that involves missing body parts of patients. But why?
I hope you will stay tuned for more information on when this project becomes available on Amazon.
This new title is available now at www.amazon.com under their Kindle Book selections. This is a 24 ‘page’ collection of poetry that I have written.
This book is my first foray into any kind of online publishing and would appreciate any feedback. Yes, good and bad.
I look forward to any correspondence through this page as well, whether it is story ideas, publishing ideas, or just to say ‘You suck!” Either way, it is all good.
There will be an announcement coming on February 1, 2011. Please stay tuned.