“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Today marks Hemingway’s 116th birthday. I’m not going to argue the fact that this dude had a deep impact on writing. He’s influenced countless people with his style and personality.
I owe him a lot. Whenever I’m in edit mode or feel like I’m being too verbose I think of that guy. So, yeah.
And while most people would probably focus on his contributions to writing I’d like to point out the fact that he was a bit of a dick. Just a little. Ok, he was the reigning master of dick-fu in his time.
So, now I’d like to commence arguing with a dead guy who can’t defend himself. Or is it simply that he won’t?
Fair warning, there’ll be a lot of quotes here so we’d better start with the first one at the top.
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Why? Why the hell would you propagate the myth of “suffering for your art”?
And that wasn’t the only time you did it, here’s another one:
“A man’s got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.”
Ok, while this gives people who’ve experienced pain in their lives a hope that they can turn it into something constructive, it’s still not that productive for those who’ve lived well adjusted lives.
It’s almost as if you’re inviting people to fuck their shit up, you know? Are you really that big of an asshole?
Hold off on answering that.
By far this is the worst thing you ever said, atleast in my opinion:
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
Dude? What the actual fuck?!
You had one big-ass opportunity here to let people know that if they really want to learn how to write it’s completely achievable. Inspire them, let them know it’s a craft. It’s not something innate and that some people just “got it”.
What did you do?
Well, looking at it now, it’s kind of a smart dick move. You told them by being open about not telling them.
I’m just going to let you have that one Mr. Hemingway. Maybe you aren’t such a douche after all?
Ok, I could continue to focus on the BS but let’s just focus on some of the valuable things you taught me.
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
So true. Continue.
“Never confuse movement with action.”
Ah, yes. The difference between business & busyness.
I never had to choose a subject – my subject rather chose me.
For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.
Those two quotes show that maybe relying on a visit from your genius or daemon is a good thing.
But you still need to show up and do the job every day. Even when the magic fairy dust isn’t being sprinkled all over your work.
Also, that fairy dust is such a hassle to get out. Protip: Club Soda.
“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”
Less Words = Better Writing. Got it.
“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”
Basically, it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is. Clinton slam ’98, booyah!
“All good books have one thing in common – they are truer than if they had really happened.”
The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.
Again with the suffering? Well, it’s such a poetic and hopeful message.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
Dis be de troof.
Whenever someone tells me they don’t know if they can trust someone this comes to mind. Also, it’s not about them. It’s really more about you trusting yourself enough to handle being disappointed.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”
Just a little bit every day goes a long, long way.
“Courage is grace under pressure.”
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
Perfection is an asymptote. Now I really feel you, bro.
“The shortest answer is doing the thing.”
Oh, I’m having a mental orgasm right now. Do it!
For a long time I didn’t like Hemingway’s work. I respected it for what it was, but it just didn’t fit my taste. I still don’t think it really does. Maybe I’m just not ready for it.
What I did learn from him was that while we don’t necessarily need to agree, we should try to understand each other.
We could all benefit from a little less “je t’accuse” and a lot more listening.
The reason I dislike some of his ideas is that I feel they aren’t always constructive.
What I’m slowly realizing is that he wasn’t speaking all our truths. He was merely projecting himself and his own struggle to create.
For him that meant a lot of suffering. And ultimately he found a way out.
However, it doesn’t have to be our reality. We can find and create our own path.
I don’t know what path you’ll choose but I’ll pave mine with smiles.
Let’s let the maestro have the last word.
“There’s no one thing that’s true.
It’s all true.”
– Ernest Hemingway, July 21st 1899 – July 2nd 1961