Sunday, August 13, 2006


Please stop by and wish Pia a Happy Two-Year Bloggiversary. (This is the only acceptable spelling of the word and I plan to have it officially recognized as such by the OED.) Anyway, she reposted her very first blog entry, and it truly is excellent.


It was a Friday. The phone wasn't ringing, or plans had fallen thru, or something. That seemed to be happening slightly more frequently with each month torn off the calendar. It was mid-September and I had just wadded up August and tossed it at the trash can sitting in the corner of the room. I missed. The phone rang. It was Dawn.

I don't remember exactly when I met Dawn. I remember being struck by a splendid piece she had written. About the same time, she had become a fan of my writing. We began corresponding. And later, talking.

"Hello, Doll." We flirted like that, as much as that can be considered flirting. "Whatcha doing?"
"Nothing." I gave my standard, albeit more often than not accurate, answer. "You?"
"Mother's in town. We're getting ready for the shower on Sunday. What are your plans for tonight, Doll?"
"No plans. I think I might go to the bookstore."
"And get what?" Her genuine curiosity came thru in the tone, if not the words.
"I don't know. If you could choose one book to recommend, what would it be?"

She responded with a book and author I'd never heard of, which wasn't at all unusual. Dawn was very well read. I was embarrassed at not having read more. But at the same time, I loved these conversations when we would talk about books and authors. Her voice would come alive. It was as if she were talking about her very hopes and dreams.

From time to time, I would prod her for more information. She had a good grasp of my interests, and was typically a good judge of what I would like, and what I might not. I would ask her what she thought of some book I had heard of but had never read. Trying to get more ideas. More names. More books.

Sometimes she would spout off author after author after book after book. Usually faster than I could jot them down. Some I'd heard of. A very few I'd read. Without telling her, I would always look up online the ones she mentioned, and read about the authors. It was exciting to me, too. I felt like I was learning.

She went on to give me several ideas on this particular Friday. Among them, Capote, whom embarrassingly, I'd never read.

I made a mental note of as many of the names as I could remember. Put on jeans, a polo shirt, and flip-flops. It was still more summer than autumn. I picked up August, wadded it even tighter in my hand, and threw it away. Then hurried downstairs and out into the night.

The nearest decent bookstore was a twenty minute drive. I didn't mind at all. It was good to be out. I spent an hour in the bookstore that night. Among the four books I bought was Breakfast At Tiffany's. I chose to read it first. It was around 1:00 in the morning when I laid down and began to read.

The desire to sleep took over after just a few pages that night. But from the very first line, I was captivated. It was brilliant. Every line, perfect. Every word, so carefully chosen. I could not believe that someone could write so well. It was breathtaking.

When I finished the book the following night, I wished it wasn't over. I wished that he had written a thousand more. I felt inspired.

The only thing I can think to compare it to was when I had read To Have And Have Not, my first Hemingway. I would say it even surpassed that, except that it feels like blasphemy to say such a thing.

"You'll say the world has come between us. Our lives have come between us. But I know you just don't care..."


  1. Yah!! The yanks lost today....You know I continually return to your blog for baseball updates!! J/K Have a Great Week!!

  2. Capote's a very unique writer. There are a bunch of writers that leave me wanting more upon completion of their novels. If you haven't already, I'd suggest you try out some Steinbeck. The Wayward Bus is an amazing piece of fiction. The Grapes of Wrath is a great, epic tale. I love how he adds chapters that seem pointless, but end up making complete sense.

  3. Nothing like a good book! But I have to admit that the author has to catch me by the first chapter or I won't finish the book. Which was almost a bad thing in college. We had to read Shelly's Frankenstein. And the first part of the book was so incredibly boring! So I skipped it and jumped right to where he begins telling about the monster. I finished the book did the assignments and got my good grade. Do I care about what happened at the beginning? Nope.

    Good books keep me up all night.

  4. "When I finished the book the following night, I wished it wasn't over. I wished that he had written a thousand more. I felt inspired."

    I hate and dread that feeling. But it's so hard to stave it off and savor a good book. No, I need to read read read and then collapse and think about every other word and how sad I am when it's all over.

    Also dude! I just tried to respond (via email) your comment on my site...and there was none! grr.

  5. "When I finished the book the following night, I wished it wasn't over. I wished that he had written a thousand more. I felt inspired."

    I hate and dread that feeling. But it's so hard to stave it off and savor a good book. No, I need to read read read and then collapse and think about every other word and how sad I am when it's all over.

    Also dude! I just tried to respond (via email) your comment on my site...and there was none! grr.

  6. Tiffany: Thanks. It's nice to know my sidebar features aren't going unnoticed.

    Big Man: Yeah, I guess it's not a rare thing, to be left wanting more. I guess it's obviously one of the marks of interesting writing.

    Renee: I know what you mean. The Scarlet Letter is to blame for the only D I ever got in high school. In eleventh grade. I couldn't get intersted in it. And that was what we did for the whole six weeks.

    Heather B: It's an odd feeling. It's like you can't wait to see how it ends. And then it does...

  7. I don't take recommendations really. I used to. I read The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, by Carson MCCullers on recommendation and was sorry. While the language was beautiful, it opened the door on the lonliest, most desperate feelings and it didn't resolve at the end. There was no "but it will all work out" point. It was about the search to be understood, and when no one was there to "get" you, you make due with whoever's there, pretending that they "get" it. But in the end they don't, and the one person who does, can't convince anyone with all of his words, all of his education, all of his effort.

    I've been taking a bit of a reading break and enjoying visual arts more lately. I have an artist friend who lets me just sit in front of his canvases. I am fed by the color choices and brush strokes. How the touch of hyacinth blue just makes the trees come to life...and I am transported. It's like I used to be with my music. I'd get lost in chord analysis and diminished and augmented tones. As if they "got" it and spoke to my soul whatever soothing balm it was that I needed.

    I only recommend books that have a movie version so you can cheat on your test while drinking grape juice and eating peanuts while fighting for the "arm" position" on a stranger's sofa.

    I loved the imagery "picked up August, wadded it even tighter in my hand and threw it away". It suggested to me that you have felt a loss, and either wanted to compact the loss or that you were savoring that which you did lose before you let go. Maybe some of both. The imagery earlier in your post with ripping it down, wadding it up and missing the basket suggests the same. You tried to let go, but it didn't work. Not right away at least. You determined a course, and with the input of your friends, were able to make positive steps. As you left in a new direction, you picked up the residue, and were able to let go and move on.

  8. Can you believe that I, a holder of a bachelor's degree in English literature, have never read more than an anthology excerpt of Capote, and I cannot finish a novel by Hemmingway. Someone revoke my degree.

    Actually, it might make sense considering I only took survey courses of American Lit. My concentration was on British and European Lit.

  9. I said Happy Bloggiversary to Pia!

    I watched Capote the other night. Did he really have such a weird high pitched voice? He was so odd....

  10. I'm back Baby!!!

    I LOVE the feeling of finishing a book and wanting MORE. But it's so frustrating when you realize there isn't any more, and you have to wait. Especially if it's an author that isn't so well published....

  11. Dorothy: One of my favorite shows used to be the Bob Ross painting show on PBS. Did you ever see that? It was so peaceful.

    Interesting interpretation. No comment :)

    Do you know I never once thought of that Seinfeld episode while I was writing this entry? But that was what George had to read, and therefore, watch. Breakfast At Tiffany's. It just hit me.

    Book club lady: "The most important thing in Holly's life was her independence."
    George: "Well, not really. After all, she did get together with George Peppard...... I mean.. Fred."

    Lass: I can believe the Hemingway more than the Capote. For some reason. It's a wonderful book.

    Kerry: I haven't seen it, but I want to. Is it good?

    MappyB: That's why I try and blog three or four times a week :)

    (Cue Welcome Back, Kotter theme...) Welcome back... your dreams were your ticket out...

  12. I'm sad to say that I haven't read much from the classical writers. And by that I mean Capote, Hemingway, etc. My dad tried to get me to read those kinds of books when I was younger. But, I just wasn't interested. Now, I'd rather read fluff, but not dime store novel kind of fluff. I think everyone should read more Steinbeck, Capote, Hemingway, Twain, and so on. It just makes you smarter for having read it. Good for you!

  13. It takes a special breed to love the written word with such heart.

    I love to read...
    , gossip magazines
    , (porn) stories...

    But books, I just can't love reading books.
    From time to time, I'll find a book that I fall into within the first few pages.

    Others, and most often, it takes too long to grasp my interest and I'm already long gone.

    I appreciate her love for authors and books... appreciate that you loved that about her. Inspiration is contagious.

  14. Am not supposed to be commenting but Capote is brilliant For a whole different side "In cold blood" which I originally wrote as "in cold blog"

    Your language is beautiful and very very inspired by which is what great writers do

    Love books just never seem to have the time.

    Sorry you missed the trash, but August has a way of doing that

  15. Oh yeah! The "happy little taps" guy. "A little bush that lives over here" " Whispy happy little clouds." Bob Ross. We used to watch his show on Saturday midmornings when cartoons were over and WWF had finished (this was back in the Macho Man Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan days and that whole saga with Elizabeth)

    All of a sudden, I'm 12 yrs. old again.

    You know, sometimes August is just August.

  16. I liked it. I was really intrigued by him. I'd heard alot about Capote and it prompted lots of questions for me. For me, it was really interesting because it was about someone who lived... during our time (somewhat). I can't say for sure about how true the actions of the movie are, but it was really interesting.

  17. Carnealian: I wasn't interested in them when I was younger either. I'm just the opposite though. I'd rather read the classics than current stuff.

    Blondie: Well if you're taking recommendations, might I recommend Breakfast At Tiffany's. It's interesting from the get-go. And rather short. More like a novella, I suppose.

    Pia: Thank you. Someone else mentioned In Cold Blood, too.

    Dorothy: Yes, him! I loved that show. I think he died some years ago :(

    Sometimes August is really July.

    Kerry: Thanks for the input. I'll definitely be renting it or borrowing it soon :)