Truman Capote: A Compulsion To Be Loved

Truman Capote captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Interview with Tennessee Williams
Conducted by James Grissom
New Orleans

He had a compulsion to be loved and admired that was stronger, I think, than his compulsion to write. Writing was simply the road he traveled to find, with various detours, the admiration he craved. He marketed himself and his work brilliantly, and his satisfaction derived from sales figures and reviews and bold-faced mentions in the columns. There was no satisfaction in the work, in the doing of the work, that I could discern. I am transported by the work, the writing, the building of sentences, the mastery of creative confusion. I like approval, but it does not satisfy me as much as collaboration and consummation in a room with others. Truman just wanted to be seen and loved, and he had no real attachment to what he had written. The relationship with his words was over once he had gotten to the end of whatever road he needed to travel.

© 2015 James Grissom


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