August 26, 2015

Literary Dining 3: Truman Capote with Elisa Lago and Catherine Nichols

Photo: Iara Guedes

I haven't reported back to you yet about the third literary dinner, a homage to Truman Capote, that I organised at Entretempo Kitchen Gallery, July 17. That's because it was quite magic and it's hard to write about magic, how to put it into words? For instance, when Elisa Lago sings, which she did on that evening, there is that something. For the occasion she performed songs of Billie Holiday, about whom Truman Capote said the following: "Billie Holiday scarcely in her whole life ever sang a really good song, but she took these perfectly mediocre songs and turned them into amazing powerhouses of style and artistry. There was somebody who could take an apple out of a basket and turn it into a work of art no matter how rotten the apple was. Because she had style." 


Photo: Iara Guedes

Guest of Honour was art writer and curator Catherine Nichols. And let me just tell you what she told us. She read to us the questions that Truman Capote asked himself in his Self-Portrait of 1972. You can imagine both Capote's answers on these self-imposed questions and your very own:

1. If you had to live in just one place - without ever leaving - where would it be?
2. Do you prefer animals to people?
3. Are you cruel?
4. Do you have many friends?
5. What qualities do you look for in friends?
6. Are you often disappointed by a friend?
7. Are you a truthful person?
8. How do you like best to occupy your spare time?
9. Of what are you most afraid?
10. Then what does frighten you?
11. What shocks you? If anything?
12. If you hadn't decided on writing, a creative life, what would you have done?
13. Do you take any form of exercise?
14. Can you cook?
15. If Reader's Digest ever commissioned from you an "Unforgettable Character" article, whom would you write about?
16. What is the most powerful word in any language?
17. And the most dangerous?
18. Have you ever wanted to kill anybody?
19. What are your political interests?
20. If you could be anything, what would you most like to be?
21. What are your chief vices? And virtues?
22. Suppose you were drowning. What images, in the classic tradition, do you envision rolling across your mind?

Catherine gave us Capote's answer to the last question. Let me just quote the last paragraph of that:

"Once more, the creek. The taste of raw turnip on my tongue, the flow of summer water embracing my nakedness. And there, just there, swivelling, tangoing on the sun-dappled surface, the exquisitely limber and lethal cotton-mouth moccasin. But I'm not afraid; am I?"

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