What it Demands

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Essential to the writer is the art of reading. I’m juggling three books at the moment, each as intense as the other. I wish I could clone myself to read, write, and keep up with social media … alas, I’m not one who can find a balance to the three.

Lately, I’ve also studied how books adapt to film. Readers typically love the book more than the film, however, a film can stir interest in a particular writer. These days, I’m reading Truman Capote. He died in 1984, and yet his work is as popular as ever. Maybe because two films, “Capote” and “Infamous” have sparked interest, which is true in my case.

In the film, Infamous, Toby Jones brilliantly plays Capote and Sandra Bullock (who should’ve been nominated for an Oscar) portrays the elusive Harper Lee, childhood friend of Capote.

Harper (Bullock) made an amazing statement in the film that struck me to the core. Something I’ll never forget. She said, “I read an interview with Frank Sinatra in which he said about Judy Garland – every time she sings she dies a little. That’s how much she gave. It’s true for writers too, who hope to create something lasting. They die a little getting it right. Then the book comes out, there’s a dinner, and maybe they give you a prize, and then comes the inevitable and very American question—What’s Next? But the next thing can be so hard because now you know what it demands.”

Many writers can spit out a book every six months. I’m always amazed at that. But for some of us, writing is like opening a vein. The blood, sweat, and tears flows endlessly until the last word is written, edited, and printed. It takes a piece of our existence. I guess if you want to know why a few writers take forever to come out with the next book, you should remember what Harper Lee said … “they know what it demands.”

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