The warm weather in Southern Utah got me all riled up and now I just want it to be warm enough to sit on the deck after dinner and have long brunches outside and wear shoes that don’t have to keep your feet dry.
While we’re at it, I also want to be tan, and not have wrinkles, and get new carpeting and a new bed and new sheets and new pillows, and maybe get a dog, and definitely get some new clothes.
In other words, I’m feeling this Hemingway today:
“I want to pull my hair back tight and smooth and make a big knot at the back that I can feel. . . . And I want to eat at a table with my own silver and I want candles. And I want it to be spring and I want to brush my hair out in front of a mirror and I want a kitty and I want some new clothes.”
– from “Cat In The Rain”
It’s the second week of 20-degrees-above-average temperatures here. We went out yesterday for a hike and the snow was 90% gone in Millcreek Canyon (!), we didn’t need to wear traction chains or outerwear (!!), and it was nearly 60 degrees (!!!).
I had this Hemingway quote in my head all weekend, from A Moveable Feast:
“When spring came, even the false spring, the only problem was where to be happiest.”
I finished my creative writing class (from the university’s adult education program) two weeks ago. It did what it was intended to do; namely, give me a deadline so I’d actually write and end up with a short story. I learned a lot about plot structure and detail. I liked the class. But you guys, writing is hard.
When I would actually sit down and write and my story came out, I felt like the Queen of All the Words just waiting for a book deal. But when I read it again and had the class look at it, there were valid points to edit and places to expand and things to improve–in short, revisions. Which I never did for school papers, don’t do for this blog, and really try to avoid for work (shh, don’t tell anyone).
I’ll take the next level class next semester, so I have some time to make friends with revisions. Until then, Papa Hemingway feels my pain:
Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do. But it was very difficult, and I did not know how I would ever write anything as long as a novel. It often took me a full morning of work to write a paragraph.
(from A Moveable Feast)
A week into the new agency job, I’m having a great time doing creative things like concepting and brainstorming, but there’s still an afternoon slump where the ideas slow down. Even after all this time, I still have doubts that they’ll come back again the next morning, but I try not to worry and I think about this advice from Hem in A Moveable Feast:
I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything, I hoped; learning, I hoped; and I would read so that I would not think about my work and make myself impotent to it.
When people talk listen completely. Don’t be thinking what you’re going to say. Most people never listen. Nor do they observe. You should be able to go into a room and when you come out know everything that you saw there and not only that. If that room gave you any feeling you should know exactly what it was that gave you that feeling. Try that for practice.
The past few days gave us three birthdays in a row of some manly writers:
- Papa Hemingway on July 21
- The cowboy of despair, Cormac McCarthy, on July 22
- And my man Raymond Chandler yesterday, July 23
I think Chandler gets the honor of the quote today (from Farewell, My Lovely):
“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun.”
This work week has already made me bolster myself with these two Hemingway quotes:
It wasn’t by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.
When you work all day with your head and know you must again work the next day, what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whiskey?