it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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Well, I don't know what I am going to stack up against today. I am getting tired of it all.

So I have some quibbles with the biography of Doc Holliday I'm reading now (and more on those when I do the book report), but it just earned its keep.

As a writer, I find that when I'm working with a historical person, there comes a moment when one tiny detail, one little anecdote, makes them snap into reality for me. Pop. The telling detail. The perfect thing. Bang, the person makes sense, and I know them, and I can write them properly.

I've had a hard time finding one of those for Doc. He's so mythologized, and we have so little of himself in his own words, that it's hard to get a handle on him. He's contradictory, elusive, sharp-edged. Loyal to his friends, terrible to his enemies, soft-spoken until he's as foul-mouthed as a cat, kind to women and children, and a right bastard when in his cups. Maybe a bit bipolar, to apply a modern buzzword.

Anyway, in the midst of a discussion of how Doc's friends and enemies in Tombstone viewed him, there's a passage on his relationship with the town's children, with quotes from a few people who apparently viewed him with great fondness as kids, bringing us to this line:

[Billy] Hattich said that Doc was friendly, generous, soft-spoken, and a favorite with the town's kids because he always carried candy in his pocket.  (Gary L. Roberts, Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend, p 160)

And my first thought is, aw. That's kind of revealing, right there.

And then my second thought is, well of course.


Tags: gunfight on fremont street, jackie, john henry holliday, promethean age, the writer at work, writing craft wank

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