Hemingway on writing; “as a writer you should not judge. You should understand”

No one could say Hemingway lived a half-life. He enlisted as a World War 1 ambulance driver, was a foreign correspondent covering the Spanish Civil War, was present at the Normandy landings and the liberation of Paris, kept six-toed cats at his house in Key West, married 4 times and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1954. His back catalogue includes A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls as well as a trove of advice to writers (er, don’t drink as much?). I particularly love the advice he gave in his acceptance speech:

For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed.”

We can all hope.

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2 thoughts on “Hemingway on writing; “as a writer you should not judge. You should understand”

  1. Hemingway is among my favorite writers. My copy of “The Sun Also Rises” fell apart from the many times I have read it. His “less is more” spare approach leaves much to the reader’s imagination. It is a timeless work that fits into modern themes. I hope it is never discarded for being “politically incorrect” and never altered. Frankly, I don’t think the “everybody has to like everyone and everything they want to do” is plausible. People just hide their likes and dislikes behind a mask. I like a good story and books that take a chance at something difficult or taboo to write about. His comment about nobody living their lives full out except bullfighters – I don’t agree. I think he did.

    • I completely agree. I heard that some universities aren’t allowed to teach some books anymore because students are complaining that it’s too shocking to read about awful real-life things without warning! Just crazy. Thanks for the wonderful comment, as ever.

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