What really happens when two childhood friends become writers and one puts the other in their novel?
The Harper Lee and Truman Capote relationship is one of the most famous literary friendships in the world. The unique aspect of the friendship of Truman Capote and Harper Lee was that, unlike most literary friendships, which usually start as adults or students, their friendship started in childhood, before each evolved into two of the most critically acclaimed, best selling and famous authors of the 20th Century. As a result, most of us are familiar with Truman Capote’s childhood, not from anything Capote wrote, but from the character Dill in Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. But in A Christmas Memory, Capote himself tells the story of his childhood in Monroeville, Alabama.
And a delightful story it is, as he and his best-friend and fellow social-outcast, his elderly cousin, prepare for Christmas with their own meager resources. They pick their own pecans from a tree, and have various childish money making schemes to earn enough to buy the other supplies for fruit cakes, including bootleg whisky, at a time when Alabama was dry.
Creating their own little world, Buddy, the seven year old and his 60 year old cousin, inhabit a cocoon of creativity, childish adventure and love, whilst surrounded by fundamentalist Christianity, poverty and critical relatives. Told in the first person and mostly in the present tense, Christmas Memory has an immediacy which drew in the audience. Patrick Lennon, as Buddy (the Truman Capote character) and Betty Campbell, as his cousin, read this enduring short story and made the descriptive language, full of sensory experiences, come alive for the audience. Personally, I was enthralled by the beauty of the language and the enticing simplicity of the performance
The Fourth Annual reading was at 18th and Union, on Sunday Dec. 18th. Don’t miss it next year!