Truman Capote: “A Christmas Memory”

See image credit below.

See image credit below.

It’s that time of year – and we each have traditions we cherish, things we do that let us know it’s Christmas time again.

Reading Truman Capote’s 1956 autobiographical short story, “A Christmas Memory,” is one of those traditions for me. It stands as a marker of the season.

If you think you know Truman Capote from books such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, think again. The acclaimed southern writer was a true storyteller – and whether he was writing a true crime “non-fiction novel” or telling the autobiographical story of a young boy and his elderly distant cousin, he knows how to spin the yarn perfectly.

This year, my husband, Jim, and I started a new tradition. Yesterday, we gathered a few close friends who have seen us through a challenging year. With homemade cookies and mugs of hot tea in hand, our friends listened as I read this truly marvelous story aloud. Of course, I didn’t make it through without crying – but that’s part of the story.

My reading of “A Christmas Memory” was inspired by the annual “sermon” from Rev. Earl Holt, the pastor of First Unitarian Church of St. Louis, where I was a member many years ago. Every year on the Sunday before Christmas, Earl would dispense with a sermon and instead read this enduring tale of friendship and the true meaning of Christmas.

Why not start your own tradition? You can listen to Capote reading the story – or you can read the story aloud yourself. You’ll want to have a special edition of this story. I recommend the edition that includes a CD featuring Celeste Holm reading the story.

Merry Christmas to everyone who has joined StoryWeb!

Join me this week on Pinterest as I pin images and resources related to Truman Capote. Take a look around at all my boards – or go straight to “My Favorite Short Stories” board for all things Truman Capote.

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Listen:Listen to Truman Capote read an abridged version of “A Christmas Memory,” featured on an episode of “This American Life.” The clip runs 18 minutes. You may also want to watch the six-part, Emmy-Award-winning television adaptation of the story, narrated by Capote and starring Geraldine Page as Buddy’s elderly cousin.