Who have I found to quote here? That’s right, Mr. Ernest Hemingway.
In this bit of a letter, Hemingway addresses Fitzgerald about a novel that Fitzgerald has just published. In my opinion, if my friend had written such a harsh letter to me, I would have killed him in sleep. A little poison in the ear never hurt anyone. Well, hardly.But back to this letter. There are some swears in this, but I think there’s some good advice here, too.
For Christ sake write and don’t worry about what the boys will say nor whether it will be a masterpiece nor what. I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket. You feel you have to publish crap to make money to live and let live. All write but if you write enough and as well as you can there will be the same amount of masterpiece material (as we say at Yale). . . .
Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it—don’t cheat with it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist—but don’t think anything is of any importance because it happens to you or anyone belonging to you.
There is a real truth to what Hemingway says here. Don’t worry about what anyone says.
Write for you and that character of yours. Write your truth. Use your pain, your gut, to tell your story–even if it’s not dark and depressing and whatever.
My one-legged rooster story has truth in it. And it may not be a masterpiece, but, at this point there is no shit in it, either. I’ve been working to clean that out as I go.
PS The typo you see in Hemingway’s letter is one I make all the time.Write/Right
It’s because I have writing on the brain.