Truman Capote's quotes about writing | Mechanics' Institute

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Truman Capote's quotes about writing

The novels, plays and short stories of writer and actor Truman Capote may be considered time-honored. Over twenty films and television shows have been adapted from his body of work. Many of us take joy in seeing the film Breakfast at Tiffany's or in reading In Cold Blood. It’s unfortunate that Capote had such a short life that imploded towards the end. His numerous quotes are an acute, insightful and very entertaining part of his legacy. Noted below are some related to the art of writing, and personal favorites. A few irreverent ones are 'thrown in' to round out the list.

“Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.”

“I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.”

“Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.”

“It's a scientific fact that if you stay in California you lose one point of your IQ every year.”

“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music that words make.”

“I like to talk on TV about those things that aren't worth writing about.”

“Writing stopped being fun when I discovered the difference between good writing and bad and, even more terrifying, the difference between it and true art. And after that, the whip came down.”

 “All literature is gossip.”

“Fame is only good for one thing - they will cash your check in a small town.”

“That's not writing, that's typing.” (Capote’s famous retort after reading Jacqueline Susann’s classic debut novel  “Valley of the Dolls”)

 “He [Mick Jagger] moves like a parody between a majorette girl and Fred Astaire.”

“I got this idea of doing a really serious big work – it would be precisely like a novel, with a single difference : every word of it would be true from beginning to end.”

“Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.”

“A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That's why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.”

“Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.”

It’s worth noting that the Library holds several dozen books of famous quotations, most of them classed in the Dewey 800.8 section on Balcony 2A either as reference or circulating books. There is no shortage of resourceful websites listing a substantial number of quotes attributed to famous individuals or covering a particular subject or theme.  Needless to say, the quotes cited above by Truman Streckfus Persons, better known as Truman Capote, are just the tip of the iceberg. It is always a treat to peruse quotations from some famous or notorious individual …. a poignant and engaging exercise.

Posted on Apr. 4, 2017 by Craig Jackson