February 09, 2005

Hemingway on pencils.

Sorry for the quotation-post. I came across a nice passage from some Hemingway this evening that I thought I would share. Yes, I used a computer and not a pencil to transcribe it, but I went over it three times, and everything is exact and all that. It words sound strange, it's not my fault: "When you start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none. So you might as well use a typewriter because it is much easier and you enjoy it that much more. After you learn to write your whole object is to convey everything, every sensation, sight, feeling, place and emotion to the reader. To do this you have to work over what you write. If you write with a pencil you get three different sights at it to see if the reader is getting what you want him to. First when you read it over; then when it is typed you get another chance to improve it, and again in the proof. Writing it first in pencil gives you one-third more chance to improve it. That is .333 which is a damned good average for a hitter. It also keeps it fluid longer so that you can better it easier." Hemingway on Writing, pg. 51 (exerted from By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, pg. 216). Everyone knows about my affection for wooden pencils, and I've recently inherited an Olympus portable typewriter (more on that when it gets here from Maryland in a month or so). Too bad I'm supposed to be a philosophy researcher or scholar or something like that, and I can't just try to write novels. I have to use what intellectual energy my ADD will afford me for work. Well, I don't really know any good stories, anyway. Anyway, for a really cool film about writing, check out the grossly underestimated Wonderboys, which is on DVD for a sweet price at most stores.

7 comments:

Alcarwen said...

Wonderboys is a great flick:)

On rewriting: I undervalued it.... then I had the fun realization that all grad student TA's in English have the joy of teaching freshman comp. At my uni, revision is not only encouraged, it's required. Just because I put absolutely no faith at all in the process of revising and because I have become a word processor addict, I decided to handwrite and then type over and revise to see what happens. It *does* make a difference. Granted, it's a huge pain in the ass for a seminar length academic paper, but it definitely made a marked difference in creative writing...However, I'm not sure if it was handwriting it out first as an exercise that got my brain working a different way or that I was forced to look my own stupidity in the face when I had to type it out:)

Neighbor Girl said...

I felt so bad for the poor dog in that movie, but it's in my top 10 favorites!

Pragmatik said...

True, it was in questionable taste (at best) to feature the dog so consistently throughout the DVD menus and the promo gear, considering its early and grisly fate. I thought that was weird.

Pragmatik said...

Alcarwen, you're totally write (lol). The quality of my own academic work has never been the same as when I wrote everything at least once by hand then typed it on an electric typewriter (up until my third year of college when my parents took it away and sent me off with my Dad's laptop).

amanda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
amanda said...

oohps, didn't mean to delete that. Here's what it said:

Adore that film - I agree that it's grossly underrated.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, Wonder Boys is an exceptional movie. I still marvel at the sag of Douglas' shoulders at the critical "Oona" scene. The book's pretty damn good, too.

TPB, Esq.
tpb3jd at att.net
http://unbillablehours.typepad.com