NO PAIN, NO GAIN Theory of Writing

I just read an article about writers who make themselves physically uncomfortable—perhaps consciously or unconsciously—as a spark to their creative juices. I wrote a blog post a couple of months ago about the strange writing habits of some writers and this is a variation on that theme. Below I will give you the cite for the whole article, but here are a couple of interesting points.

No Pain, no gain.
No Pain, no gain.
  1. Some writers do all of their drafts in the font Courier for the “brutally utilitarian shape of its letters and mono spaced characters marching across the page.” Somehow they feel that when it gets transformed into New Times Roman or Arial in the final version, it looks vastly better and more professional and feels polished compared to the draft.

 

  1. As you all know if you follow this blog, Hemingway often wrote standing up. This was in part due to pain from the plane crashes and in part, he liked it. However, just as often, I see photos of him working at a large rustic table or at his dining room table.

    Writing and not standing
    Writing and not standing

3 Vladimir Nabakov liked to write in his car, hopefully while parked.

 

  1. Friedrich Schiller kept a bunch of rotting apples in his desk that filled the room with “eye watering stench.”

 

  1. Wallace Stevens jotted lines on to scraps of paper while working.

 

  1. Walter Scott wrote while on horseback. This is puzzling.

 

  1. Victor Hugo hid all his clothes save for a grey shawl to prevent himself from leaving the home until he was done meeting his writing requirements.

 

  1. Balzac drank 50 cups of coffee a day. I would think that would make him get up and down an awful lot.

 

  1. Truman Capote “couldn’t think unless he was lying down and described himself as a completely horizontal author”.

 

The theory is that discomfort promotes creativity. I’m not sure.

 

Do you have any weird habits? I feel lucky if I can sit down in front of a fire with the dogs and just write. A glass of wine is welcome, but optional.

 

Happy Birthday, July 21, 1899, Ernest Miller Hemingway

Hemingway Birthday Celebration at Stafford’s Perry Hotel

Hemingway fans will celebrate the beloved Northern Michigan author’s birthday at Stafford’s Perry Hotel in Petoskey during the second annual Ernest Hemingway Birthday Celebration Thursday, July 21.

The evening starts at 6 p.m. and will feature an exclusive screening of the first rough cut of the new television documentary Young Hemingway: Finding His Muse in Northern Michigan by writer-producer George Colburn. 

Local singer, Robin Lee Berry, will perform the documentary’s theme song which offers readings from Hemingway’s private letters featured in the documentary. Brian Kozminski, who portrays Hemingway in the documentary’s fishing scenes, will offer commentary on the Northern Michigan fishing scene that captivated Ernest Hemingway.

“Hemingway’s presence is a unique part of Northern Michigan’s history and we are excited to be celebrating him at the Perry Hotel for the second year in a row,” says Becky Babcock, marketing director for Stafford’s Hospitality. “His connection to the Perry Hotel makes this the perfect venue for the event, and we look forward to carrying it on as a tradition in the years to come.”

Guests will dine with Hemingway historians and enjoy a five-course Hemingway inspired dinner. The menu (see below) is tantalizing.

Tickets for the Hemingway Birthday Celebration cost $50 per person. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Young Hemingway Documentary Project.

This MyNorth Media video features Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife—a novel about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife—reading a postcard Hemingway wrote from a hospital bed in Italy.

Hemingway Menu

Appetizers
Stafford’s chilled cherry soup shooter, goat cheese crisp, wild mushroom ragout, hunter sausage finger sandwich, pickled onion, mustard, soft roll, kippered rainbow trout, cucumber, dill, radish, cornichon

Spring Harvest Salad
Watercress, frisee, gold beets, shaved asparagus, orange supremes, roma tomato petals, Castelvetrano olives, white balsamic vinaigrette

Michigan Lake Perch à la Meunière
Brown butter, parsley, crispy potato, heirloom tomato relish, aioli

Grilled Beef Filet
Michigan morel, apple wood bacon and leek compote, bordelaise, glazed carrots, English peas, saffron potato

Orange Almond Financier
Blueberry, lemon curd, chocolate truffle

To purchase tickets to the Hemingway Birthday Celebration and make advanced reservations, call The Perry Hotel at 231.347.4000.


More Ernest Hemingway

#2016 #Emmet_County #Petoskey #Events #History #Vacation #Travel_Ideas

When More Is . . . More

Reading is my life.
Reading is my life.

Purple is not only highly coloured prose,” he wrote. “It is the world written up, intensified and made pleasurably palpable, not only to suggest the impetuous abundance of Creation, but also to add to it by showing – showing off – the expansive power of the mind itself … When the deep purple blooms, you are looking at a dimension, not a posy.”

On praise of purple prose
In praise of purple prose

This is an interesting article in praise of “purple prose,” the opposite of minimalist prose favored by Hemingway. It does not pan that prose but argues that there is a place for “more.” nice commentary. Best, Christine

More is more
More is more

The Strange Writing Habits of Writers

November is National Writing Month, so today I muse about how some writers write. Ernest Hemingway’s first rule for writers was to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. But not all authors are able to survive with such a simple approach.http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/nov/14/lederer-good-time-to-reflect-art-of-writing/

Every writer has his/her own comfort place where writing is easier and better for him/her. Hemingway often wrote standing up especially after the plane accidents but he also enjoyed writing at a big table. His fourth wife, Mary, created a studio for him on the Finca property but he never took to it and preferred to write in the house. He typed but he also did a fair amount long hand and edited long hand, slashing, writing, correcting, modifying.

Hem Standing
Hem Standing

The above article is about other writers’ habits. To quote the author of the article, Richard Lederer:

Francis Bacon knelt each day before creating his greatest works. Martin Luther could not write unless his dog was lying at his feet, while Ben Jonson needed to hear his cat purring. Marcel Proust sealed out the world by lining the walls of his study with cork. Gertrude Stein and Raymond Carver wrote in their cars, while Edmond Rostand preferred to write in his bathtub.

Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust
Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac

 

Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson (NOT EMILY, I AM TOLD. See below for the real Emily)

 

Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton

Emily Dickinson hardly ever left her home and garden. Wallace Stevens composed poetry while walking to and from work each day at a Hartford, Conn., insurance company. Alexander Pope and Jean Racine could not write without first declaiming at the top of their voices. Jack Kerouac began each night of writing by kneeling in prayer and composing by candlelight. Friedrich Schiller started each of his writing sessions by opening the drawer of his desk and breathing in the fumes of the rotten apples he had stashed there.

Some writers have donned and doffed gay apparel. Early in his career, John Cheever wore a business suit as he traveled from his apartment to a room in his basement. Then he hung the suit on a hanger and wrote in his underwear. Jessamyn West wrote in bed without getting dressed, as, from time to time, did Eudora Welty, Edith Wharton, Mark Twain and Truman Capote. John McPhee worked in his bathrobe and tied its sash to the arms of his chair to keep him from even thinking about deserting his writing room.

This is me again. So you always knew writers were a weird and rare breed. I don’t have any habits that rival the above. Give me a fire, one of my dogs, and some smooth jazz and I usually can get something down.

Any other strange writing habits out there?

I lick the paper before I can write.
I lick the paper before I can write.

Best, Christine

 

 

 

ADDENDUM: An astute reader wrote to say that the above photo is not of Emily Dickenson. So much for Google image search. Here is another and I hope it is correct.  Many thanks!  C

Emily Dickenson
Emily Dickenson

Film about Hemingway and his boat Captain, Gregorio Fuentes

Hemingway’s boat played an integral role in his story, and now its sister ship is in South Florida and ready to make her film debut.

 

EH 8124P Ernest Hemingway fishing, Key West, 1928. Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
EH 8124P Ernest Hemingway fishing, Key West, 1928.
Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

 

Hemingway Exhibit at the Morgan Library/Museum Sept ’15-Jan 31 ’16

on safari in Kenya
on safari in Kenya

#Hemingwayexhibit

Ernest Hemingway was a maker of lists and a collector of his life’s ephemera. For the first time, some of the objects that this American writer gathered during his long career — bullfighting stubs from Pamplona in Spain, boastful fishing logs from expeditions off the Cuban coast, coy letters to a mistress, penciled drafts of stories — will be on display in an exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum from Sept. 25 through Jan. 31.

Oh, the fun of this. About half of the items in the exhibit are being borrowed from the Kennedy Library (Boston) Collection. Some were private letters so don’t be too hard on him. If letters you wrote to a close friend or lover were made public  .they might not include your most eloquent turns of phrase. If you can manage, this will be a great stroll through Hemingway lore and history.

Always reading
Always reading

The Hemingway Cats in Key West

Hem, boys, and cat
Hem, boys, and cats

#Hemingwaycats.

So, what could be controversial about some multi-toed cats living peacefully in Key West?  Well a lot apparently.  For four years the Hemingway Museum has been in litigation with the town which wanted the cats caged saying they exceeded limits and thus constituted an animal exhibit and needed to be licensed and caged.  Hmm. That seems a stretch. I am happy to report that the Hemingway Museum won the case and an exception/exemption was noted by the Key West City Commission, which voted to exempt the Hemingway cats from federal rules, calling them “animals of historic, social and tourism significance.” They are, said city officials, “an integral part of the history and ambiance of the Hemingway House.” Well, who didn’t know that?  Full article below.

Polydactyl cats have extra toes on one or more paws. They are often called Hemingway cats.

Cat in the Rain
Cats in the Rain
Hem drinks with cat
Hem drinks with cat

 

Photos only with commentary: Part 2. The Pauline years

Pauline when working for Paris Vogue
Pauline when working for Paris Vogue
Catherine and Frederic
Catherine and Frederic
Key West
Key West
Althought after divorce from Pauline, this is all 3 boys, 2 from marriage to Pauline Ernest Hemingway with sons (Patrick, John "Bumby", and Gregory "Gigi"), at Club de Cazadores del Cerro, Cuba. Photograph in Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
Althought after divorce from Pauline, this is all 3 boys, 2 from marriage to Pauline
Hem on beach
Hem on beach
Hem's Dining room in Key West
Hem’s Dining room in Key West

Was Hemingway Bi-polar?

FROM THE moment Ernest Hemingway saw Finca Vigia ( Lookout Farm) outside Havana in 1939, it became his home in the deepest sense.

The above article discusses Hemingway’s time in Cuba, self-medication perhaps with alcohol, and his love for his Cuban home. Very interesting. Best, Christine

 

The Hemingway Writing App

Hem writing a letter maybe?
Hem finding the right word

Whether you compose presentations, speeches, online content, or just a lot of emails, this app can make a huge difference in the way you write.

This is pretty interesting. It’s an app for $ 6.99 that you apply to your writing and it tells you which sentences are too wordy; whether or not you need to eliminate some adverbs and find a more precise word; and the “readability” of your writing, such as is it readable on an 8th grade level or more likely on a college level. It’s aptly called the “Hemingway app.”.

When some drafts of a few of Hemingway’s stories were found scattered about his Cuban home, there were often notations on them saying such things as “this prose can be tightened,” or “find a better word here.”  He was his own best editor and toughest critic until Max Perkins got his hands on it, anyway. Anyway, this is fun to contemplate.

A Scotch sour and a breeze!
A Scotch sour and a breeze!
Don't even ask. My style is my own and I won't tell you how I do it
Don’t even ask. My style is my own and I won’t tell you how I do it

Frustration