Ernest Hemingway, The Art of Fiction No. 21

May 9th, 2012 Comments Off

1954 interview with Ernest Hemingway by George Plimpton:

Nowhere is the dedication he gives his art more evident than in the yellow-tiled bedroom—where early in the morning Hemingway gets up to stand in absolute concentration in front of his reading board, moving only to shift weight from one foot to another, perspiring heavily when the work is going well, excited as a boy, fretful, miserable when the artistic touch momentarily vanishes—slave of a self-imposed discipline which lasts until about noon when he takes a knotted walking stick and leaves the house for the swimming pool where he takes his daily half-mile swim.

Another excerpt:

INTERVIEWER
What would you consider the best intellectual training for the would-be writer?
HEMINGWAY
Let’s say that he should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced by his own self to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with.

Ernest Hemingway, The Art of Fiction No. 21

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