Friday, August 31, 2007


Even the most famous writers had to work for it. First drafts are not always good. Below is the first draft of the first page of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.
I got it from Tim Powers on his mailing list. I asked Tim: "Awkward is no overstatement. Are you sure it's a first draft as such? It reads more like an outline."
He answered:
"That Hemingway page was virtually _final_ draft, actually! It's from a carbon of the manuscript that Fitzgerald read "while proofs were being set" at Scribner's! Luckily Fitzgerald read it and wrote Hemingway a letter full of crucial advice, and luckily Hemingway made the appropriate changes. This is all in Matthew Broccoli's book, Scott and Ernest. Hemingway is one of my favorite writers, so it's reassuring to me to see that he could do clumsy stuff that didn't (quite) make it into publication."

This is a novel about a lady. Here name is Lady Ashley and when the story begins she is living in Paris and it is Spring. That should be a good setting for a romantic but highly moral story. As every one knows, Paris is a very romantic place. Spring in Paris is a very happy and romantic time. Autumn in Paris, although very beautiful, might give a note of sadness or melancholy that we shall try to keep out of this story. Lady Ashley was born Elizabeth Brett Murray. Her title comes from her second husband. She had divorced one husband for something or other, mutual consent; not until after he had put one of those noties in the papers stating that after this date he would not be responsible for any debt, etc. He was a Schotchman and found Brett much too expensive, especially as she had only married him to get rid of him and to get away from home. At present she had a legal separation from her second husband, who had the title, because he was a dipsomaniac, he having learned it in the North Sea commanding a minesweeper, Brett said.


terry said...

I prefer Irwin Shaw. Known for his best selling Novel "Rich Man Poor Man" that skyrocketed him to fame and fortune after the landmark mini-series aired.
Hemingway killed himself didn't he? They said he had problems he couldn't master? Not sure really. Sad at any rate for him.

Final Identity said...

"Writing is easy. You just sit and stare at a blank page until drops of blood appear on your forehead." I paraphrase. Was that Twain? Someone of that ilk.

I wish the market valued it (a) as much as most employers CLAIM they wish to value it (though they don't put their money where their mouth is) (b) as much as salaries indicate the market values (for example) entry-level computer jockeys. Writing is my most useful skill, most often used, though it is seldom remunerated at a valid rate for me to even consider it as a career track.

Which brings me to another point. I'm starting legal studies next fall (or sooner, if I can get admissions to work out for me). I've just started studying for the pre-law-school exam, which here in the USA is a strange concoction of verbal logical conundrums and little spatial-relationship games presented as word problems, called the LSAT. You can look up a practice section of it at

Lots of fun stuff in PDF form! :)

I frankly LOVE the rational challenge. First time my mind's been used in 20 years. I'm concerned I won't be admitted to a school of the "caliber" I'd like, because of my lack of professional success in the interim. Right now I'm scoring at roughly 90th percentile on the test, and want to bump that to 95th to get more likelihood of money or at least a higher-status school.

So sad, how we base so much on entries and exits from institutions of higher learning. We're such a classist society here in North America.

Raoul Hernandez said...

Yeah, it really sucks that they want intelligent, capable people. Those assholes!

Final Identity said...


In fact, much of my work experience has been, that my intelligence and capability AT THE TASK has been a serious detriment to my career's advancement, whereas my capacity to DO A BAD JOB has almost always made my life better and increased my opportunities and salary.