When a writer makes me feel welcome and acceptable and a little bit wonderful despite it all, I almost cry.
The best I can do to thank and honor that magnificent storyteller is to tell other people, read this book.
So here I am telling you, asking you, pleading with you to read “The Grass Harp” by Truman Capote. The book was first published in 1951, but can probably be found at just about any local library. If you’re lucky, you might find a copy at a used book store for $2 even. The book is worth buying even if you find it new.
Do you remember pressing your pencil onto Kress paper? Or climbing up into a tree house or building a creek fort for summer days? Maybe remember the pink fuzzy blooms of a mimosa tree and the dark red pomegranates spilling out black seeds strange and bittersweet like many human relationships.
The late Truman Capote, born Truman Streckfus Persons, helps me remember and get through. I wish he could have been my friend. Capote has died, but he left us his very heart in his books and in his characters like Dollyheart and Catherine and Riley and Judge Cool.
When I consider certain passages, my heart stirs with the precious recognition that I’m not alone, that someone went before and knows what it’s like to feel different. And don’t many of us feel different, somehow defective, at one time or another?
Here’s Judge Cool explaining Spirits to Dolly and when I got done reading, I hoped it meant I was one of the Spirits instead of just plain difficult or crazy. “Spirits are accepters of life,” Judge Cool tells Dolly. “They grant its differences–and consequently are always in trouble.”
Trouble yourself, if you can even call it that, to read this long-ago book by Capote, who took his stepfather’s surname after his mother married a second time. When Capote asks you, through the voice of orphan Collin, “When was it that first I heard of the grass harp?,” I’m betting you will want to know the answer.
- ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and other Capote classics coming out as ebooks (canada.com)
- A Sleeping Bee (bloggingtonybennett.com)
- Currently Watching… Capote (alexrister1.wordpress.com)