I admit it. Writers can’t be trusted. In their desire to share insights, they can forget someone’s feeling might be hurt. In an earlier blog on Truman Capote (Blog Dec. 12, 2012) I wrote about the author’s roman à clef, a fictionalized profile of some of his friends in New York society. His observations, when they learned of what he’d done, left them hostile and they cast him from their society as surely as Lucifer was cast out of paradise. Capote was surprised and devastated, so much so that Harper Lee, his friend and the author of To Kill A Mockingbird, held these people accountable for his decline.
I can understand Capote’s amazement. He’d written what he’d observed. He’d tried to be accurate and he was satisfied the result was a dazzling portrait of the sharp-edged life of New York society. No doubt he felt he should have been rewarded for having captured the heady mores of the privileged and powerful so well. Perhaps, had this roman à clef not disappeared, it might have enlightened and entertained a multitude, including gossip columnists, groupies and social anthropologists.
Unfortunately, being true to his art cost Capote the company he enjoyed. That’s the risk of seizing upon an insight and wanting to share it.
Not long ago, I leapt upon a fragment of conversation which, though unintended, put a friend in an unfavorable light. She called me on it and I’m glad she did. At least I was being given a chance to explain my remarks and repair the damage. I apologized gladly, not because I’d misreported the conversation, but because I’d failed to see that in making my point, I’d drawn it larger than life and so had thrown a shadow over my friend.
Let me be honest. Whenever a writer writes, there is always a chance of distortion. The nature of writing is to highlight. Sometimes that highlighting warps the total picture. I’m grateful that when I went too far, unlike Capote, a generous person was ready to forgive me.
(Courtesy of forgivingispossible.blogspot.com)