in a beat-up grace kelly car

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

Truman’s Hat (Previsited)

Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of Truman Capote, one of my favorite writers.

Truman possessed that glorious ability to dream-up an excellent story and then craft it into perfection with the precision and grace of a masterful wordsmith. From humble beginnings, he rose to enjoy the riches of celebrity, and floated about in its high circles with effortless aplomb, soon charming himself into the talks and toasts of many…just as he had expected. He was also quite the tiny tyrant at times, often becoming an embarrassment to himself and those around him with his uncontrollable boozing and fiery tongue.

His speaking voice was an instantly recognizable extension of his appearance and personality, and he was always an entertaining guest when making his myriad talk show appearances throughout the 60’s and 70’s, often baffling the young me with his curious persona. How could I have known that this somewhat toadish man-boy had once been young and handsome, a thrilling fireball of creativity and joie de vivre? (That’s him in 1949 on this Smiths’ single cover from 1985.)

But it’s his writing voice that gets into you. And, in the end, it’s that writing voice that will speak for him throughout the ages.

And if you’re wondering, my favorite book by him – generally speaking – is Music for Chameleons, a collection of short stories and essays. But that may change with the next one I revisit.

Years ago, in his honor, I’d written a little tune called Truman’s Hat that I hoped would help me get a better handle on him, genius bag of contradictions that he was (he reportedly once said that he was more interested in the truth than he was in the facts). I recorded the song a few times throughout the years, and this month’s mp3 is a hopefully hypnotic instrumental version of it.

A full version with lyrics appears on my next “official” release (plug plug), due out early September. I’m doing something different this time in that I’m going to try to chronicle not only some of the recording of the EP, but also the ways I actually go about getting it onto CD and then promote and sell it…cheaply and mostly effortlessly of course. My desire is that some of you who might think to yourself, “I oughta record some music and put it out there” will find some inspiration and guidance to get you started. So if you want to follow along, check out the new site I’ve set up for it here.

And, lest we forget:

Two quotes from Truman Capote:

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.

and

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

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