Thoughts from F. Scott Fitzgerald

f-scott-fitzWhen the initial sales of his mediocre book The Great Gatsby failed to meet expectations, Fitzgerald expressed his disappointment in a letter to his editor, Max Perkins. In the letter, he decried the trend at the time of honoring the so-called “American peasant.” Wrote Fitzgerald:

Some day they’ll eat grass, by God! This thing, both the effort and the result have hardened me and I think now that I’m much better than any of the young Americans without exception.

Do you notice the barely-concealed contempt for grassy cuisine? He went on, however, to declare that:

There’s no point in being an artist if you can’t do your best.

I can’t disagree there, although, on the whole, I dare say I give better advice to young artists. For example, I was the first to utter the now-ubiquitous commonplace, never wipe your hindquarters with bark. That was me.

For that little gem and innumerable others, follow me on the Tweeter at @City_Sasquatch

(Notes on F. Scott from the laudable biography by Andrew Turnbull)


Words To Live By

“The only giant monster you are destined to become is the huge freak you decide to be.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice, revised and edited for verity and practicality by yours truly. If this raises your spirits, then we (Ralph and I) have succeeded. Let me know @City_Sasquatch

Advice On Advice, For Writers

book in handThe internet is a big place. A veritably infinite gamut of information gamely surfs the invisible waves of the digital sea. But there’s one type of information that, in my humble opinion, the web still lacks: that of unsolicited advice.

That’s where I come in. Aren’t you glad you’re reading this?

In response to some well-intentioned submission strategies for the working literati over at The Writer’s Circle, I propose to you, my earnest idolaters, this unsolicited bit of counsel: write either with a pen, a pencil, or at a keyboard. This approach should solve most quandaries quite directly. However, contrary to the Circle’s second rule of submitting, I see no reason why you should read your work over. You’ve just written it. Why read it again?

If you do insist on reading the piece you’ve just produced, then allow me to suggest a heuristic which you might find helpful. Have you been writing with your eyes closed? Open them. I think you’ll be surprised at what you’ll see.

If that glittering emerald of advice doesn’t tide you over, there’s always this brisk run-down of helpful ways to think about your writing, thanks to the enchanting editors at The Review Review.