"All We are is Writers:" Letter from Hemingway to Fitzgerald about Tender is the Night

You may have seen this already, but on twitter today, someone pointed me to a link to this letter from that fantastic website, Letters of Note.  It's a letter from Ernest Hemingway to F. Scott Fitzgerald on the publication of Tender is the Night, and Hemingway isn't altogether flattering.  But what he is is honest, especially with his almost painfully accurate advice for the writing life.  Among other nuggets, this stood out:

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). You can't think well enough to sit down and write a deliberate masterpiece and if you could get rid of Seldes and those guys that nearly ruined you and turn them out as well as you can and let the spectators yell when it is good and hoot when it is not you would be all right. 
For more of Hemingway's advice (and to hear about how Fitzgerald was too "stinking" drunk in New York), go to Letters of Note and read the whole letter.  It will make your day--and then some.

And hey, follow me on twitter if you're not already!  My twitter name is just KathrynPaterson.

Comments

Dorothy Hagan said…
I always come away from this blog smarter. Thanks, Kathryn.
Love this, Kathryn! Thanks for sharing!

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