Tag Archives: Truman Capote

The Week in Review: Thanks for a Record Number of Page Views!

storycroft, page views, engagement, blog, Atlanta, John Rocker, Survivor, Truman Capote, Positive Challenge

Thanks for helping me end the summer with a bang!

I want to thank subscribers to this blog for their support over the last eight months. With your help, storycroft.com got more page views on Friday than on any other day. And on Sunday, we came this close to setting another record.

Why the excitement? First, I jumped on a breaking story that’s relevant to my premise. Then I worked the system hard while staying true to that premise.

Early in the week, I had two posts — about finishing my Positive Challenge and about great quotes from Truman Capote — that drew a good but unremarkable amount of page views and engagement. But right after I posted about Capote, news came that “Survivor” was adding controversial ex-baseball player John Rocker to its cast of castaways. I had to weigh in — and I got some of the Internet traffic driven by Rocker and the show.

I decided to build on it by re-linking some older posts to referral sites where I had posted them before, like reddit.com and stumbleupon.com, and I was stunned by the tidal wave of page views that came from them a few months after their first run. (Thanks, Sophie… and Josh, The Run Commuter… and the King of Pops… and Ponce City Market…) I also sought out other discussion boards about Rocker and other topics in my posts, and that got me referrals from large, commercial sites.

Just as important, engagement was high on the blog and on my social media pages. Readers were clicking through photo galleries. And on links and images at the bottom of posts. And retweeting and sharing posts on Twitter and Facebook. Anybody can lure in one-timers with click bait. But that doesn’t interest me. At some point, we have to focus on improving engagement at least as much as page views.

Oh, I want new readers, of course. But I also hope anyone who visits storycroft.com will come in and sit a spell, as we say down South. To click on another story, leave a comment, recommend it on social media.

You know: Have a conversation — and tell a story.

If you enjoyed this post or anything on storycroft.com, please subscribe at the top of the right column. And ask a friend to do the same. Thanks! 


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9 Times Truman Capote Inspired Me to Reach for the ‘Inner Music that Words Make’

Truman Capote, journalism, writer, "In Cold Blood," "Music for Chameleons," "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

Capote in the “In Cold Blood” years

This week marks the 30th anniversary of Truman Capote’s death. He was just 59, but the decades of drinking and drugging made him look much older and pathetic when you’d see him on The Johnny Carson Show, silly and chatting away in that nasal, high-pitched voice.

That’s all I knew of him until I was old enough to discover his talent as a writer and aim to emulate it – or, at least, a lot of it. I wanted to become a journalist, and Capote was one of the generation of great American writers to merge a poet’s precision with a reporter’s eye – and a novelist’s sweep, most successfully, of course, with “In Cold Blood.”

That book showed reportage as art. And one of his later books, “Music for Chameleons,” further jazzed me with Capote’s first-person tenderness and uniquely vivid descriptions.

To celebrate the great words Capote left, here are nine segments and quotes that have stuck with me over the decades. And if you haven’t yet, do yourself a favor and read “In Cold Blood,” “Music for Chameleons” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (and no, the Audrey Hepburn movie doesn’t count).


1. “To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.”


2. “You know those days when you’ve got the mean reds…. the blues are because you’re getting fat or maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re sad, that’s all. But the mean reds are horrible. You’re afraid and you sweat like hell, but you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Except something bad is going to happen, only you don’t know what it is.”

~ Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”


 

Truman Capote, In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Music for Chameleons, journalist, writing, writer

His masterwork

3. “The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there.’ ”

~ The opening of “In Cold Blood”


4. “I thought that Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman. I thought so right up to the moment that I cut his throat.”

~ Perry Smith from “In Cold Blood”


5. “… he called after her as she disappeared down the path, a pretty girl in a hurry, her smooth hair swinging, shining – just such a young woman as Nancy might have been. Then, starting home, he walked toward the trees, and under them, leaving behind him the big sky, the whisper of wind voices in the wind-bent wheat.”

~ The closing lines of “In Cold Blood”


Truman Capote, Marilyn Monroe, In Cold Blood, Beautiful Child, Music for Chameleons

Capote with Marilyn Monroe

6. Marilyn: Remember, I said if anybody ever asked you what I was like, what Marilyn Monroe was really like—well, how would you answer them? (Her tone was teaseful, mocking, yet earnest, too: she wanted an honest reply.) I bet you’d tell them I was a slob. A banana split.

TC: Of course. But I’d also say…

(The light was leaving. She seemed to fade with it, blend with the sky and clouds, recede beyond them. I wanted to lift my voice louder than the seagulls’ cries and call her back: Marilyn! Marilyn, why did everything have to turn out the way it did? Why does life have to be so rotten?)

TC: I’d say…

Marilyn: I can’t hear you.

TC: I’d say you are a beautiful child.

~ from his memoir of Marilyn Monroe in “Music for Chameleons”


7. “She sounds like banana tastes.”

~ from a profile of a cleaning woman in “Music for Chameleons”


8. “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.”

~ from “Answered Prayers — The Unfinished Novel”


9.”That’s not writing; that’s typing.”

Capote about “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac


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