Showing posts with label Ernest Hemingway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ernest Hemingway. Show all posts

Writers on the Storm

The legendary editor of Charles Scribner's Sons, Maxwell Perkins, worked with writers who became legends such as Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. None of these men knew celebrity until their first novel was published.

Back then, publishers invested in writers who could build careers. They paid modest advances and worked together to produce literature that could achieve commercial success. Some books would flop, others would yield a modest return, and some would be gigantic best-sellers. The best-sellers would fund the enterprise.

George R.R. Martin

Publishing has changed since then.

An unknown writer presents undue risk to a publisher. To achieve profit they must invest in those titles the industry will support as best-sellers. That said, a writer with an established audience has leverage. For example, the Obamas were awarded a $60 million contract from Penguin Random House for the President's and the First Lady's memoirs. A safe bet by any calculation, but the pendulum for today's writers can swing both ways. 

With a bona fide hit out of the gate, the pressure to follow it up can be overwhelming. One way writers can avoid the sophomore jinx is through a series that rolls like a snowball down a hill such as Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. Of course, a writer can become the series themselves such as Stephen King, Tom Clancy and John Grisham. Since many of the commercially successful books are wonderful pieces of literature, too, where does it leave today's aspiring writers?

J.K. Rowling

While the business of publishing has evolved with the marketplace, the marketplace has itself become more accessible. Backing from a publisher with promotion and distribution can smooth the path to fortune and fame, but it's never an easy path. It's a howling storm out there and writers must put on their boots, fasten their coats, hold on to their hats, and trudge along.
   

Drink on Hemingway

I drove through Islamorada in a fiery Mustang convertible with the top down and Marley and the Wailers playing over and over while my foot weighed down like gravity on the accelerator.

Spontaneous flight to Miami, now on the hunt for inspiration once owned by the man who left a blueprint to literary fortune in his short, swift typewriter strokes.


Hotel in Key West where a cute girl in navy blue g-string bikini waits poolside for me to make a move, but I'm incapacitated by irreverent sun beams and the beauty of her fresh tan lines.

Ernest Hemingway
Night falls. Drag queens on Duval Street singing Christmas carols. Ruckus up ahead, sirens and handcuffs, I turn left to Whitehead, to find blues burning from Caffeine Carl and the Funky Beans and wild locals getting loose on buckets of beer, drunk on the notion I'm in heaven, but it's filthy and lonely after a while.
Wallet empty, party strong, I leave dejected, seeking inspiration, call on Hemingway ... Show yourself, you son of a bitch.

And then I find it -- a five dollar bill in front of his house! 

After six long years of embellishment, I pick up the bill and head back to the bar for a drink on Hemingway.

But, according to my notes, the bill was one block away and I could not go back, chased by a black cat to the beach where I charge bare-ass into the water only to be devoured by camouflaged sharks and the wonder of how I will look back on this absurd life. 


Green Parrot Bar, Key West, FL


Write What You Know

"All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." - Ernest Hemingway

Nature kills, human nature, too, I wish that wasn't true.

"This above all - to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man." - Shakespeare, Hamlet

There was a man who cut in front of me at a crowded rooftop bar overlooking the Chrysler Building which popped against the deep blue Manhattan sky on a pleasant summer night. I brought it to his attention and he shrugged his shoulders. I recalled the wisdom of Queen Elizabeth, who when asked what lesson was the most important to learn in life replied, good manners.

"I don't know much, but I know I love you." - Written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Tom Snow. Performed by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville. 

I was sitting beneath a tree having lunch on the campus of a large corporation when I called home. My mother and father, sister, nephew, wife and sons were 53.8 miles away from me and contemplating ordering Chinese food. I would have swum the Sound for an egg roll.




Thoughts at The Turn: Jennifer Lawrence, Blake Wingtips and Ernest Hemingway

Jennifer Lawrence, Hunger Games
NY premiere.
Back breaking snow shoveling storms sabotaged my strategy to sip 18 taps of Blue Point brew on eastern Long Island before it gets trampled by Clydesdales, but now have time to dive into old blues albums while I jot down diversionary thoughts rather than face The Turn.

I've always liked Tom Chiarella of Esquire and his piece 40: When You've "Made" It  is a great pep talk.

Speaking of Esquire, was it just me or was the February 2014 issue, Weird Men, not too weird? Then again, what would I know about it.


Jennifer Lawrence, Film Independent
Spirit Awards.
Can't wait for American Hustle to be available on Netflix. Something about that movie trailer with Jennifer Lawrence parading around in her underwear coupled with rumors of a kiss with co-star Amy Adams sounds intriguing.

Why is the whole world obsessed with Jennifer Lawrence anyway? I mean really Jack Nicholson, she's old enough to be your daughter's daughter. I guess I have nothing new to add to the tomes of internet adulation, but JLaw does seem like the girl-next-door type who liked to smoke pot and listen to The Dead until wham-o, she's hyper glammed up and doesn't have a moment to say hey, I know that dude, he lived next door to me, but I digress. I guess like every other man, Jack Nicholson included, I'd like to smoke pot with Jennifer Lawrence -- the legal, medical variety of course.
Jennifer Lawrence, 83rd Oscars.

Big, big fan of Rancourt & Co. Shoecrafters located in Lewiston, Maine. They rolled out the Blake wingtip not long ago and I have had a shoe-porn like obsession with it. Yet to figure out how I can justify the purchase and quell the likely barrage of "Imelda Marcos" quips from my wife.

Going to Key West at the end of the month to celebrate a dear friend's betrothal. Will certainly visit the Hemingway house again, even though I already know the tour by heart. Good time to replace my Sloppy Joe's t-shirt with a brighter version for the summer, but quite frankly, I'll be happy if I escape from the Southernmost Point in one piece.

Bonobos, big fan. Will buy more Bonobos this spring.

Now that's a compelling midlife crisis portrait: Safety Pink Sloppy Joe's tee, navy Bonobos shorts, tan Blake wingtips sans socks, medical marijuana license, obligatory sunburn and delusions that, if given the chance, Jennifer Lawrence would totally go for it.

Ernest Hemingway, Key West.