Hemingway: The purpose of our book

Like anybody else, I get discouraged, sometimes. But, like anybody else (including the Beatles) I get by with a little help from my friends.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

6 AM. A little bit discouraged, Papa. I have just about roughed-in the first draft, and I am wondering if I am not on the wrong track. What I’m putting out isn’t all that new, most of it.

It isn’t that the information is new, but the interpretation. You know that. One of two things the historian can bring to his subject, new information or new interpretation.

But what I offer that is new is really only that you are the one saying it. In other words,

Oh, I know “in other words.” You’re just worrying because your body isn’t what it should be. Why do you think you’re being encouraged to get to the gym?

You think that’s all it is? Nerves?

Your having to sustain yourself alone, with nothing to prop up your judgment of yourself. So, it’s going to be a little lonely. Naturally. So in that case what do you do? You either look for support in somebody else or you push on through. Which would you say is the sounder plan?

I do know that much. But if I’m on the wrong track

Don’t you think you’ll know it? The whole purpose of writing the first draft is to fix it in your mind so you can go back over it and change everything you can find that’s wrong. Do that often enough, long enough, and you’ll know what you have and what you want to say.

And it is the not doing that long enough that causes people to write slop, as you said.

Sure. If you had to have this finished by the end of the month, you might finish but you wouldn’t have given it what it needs.

I’ve been guilty of that more than once. My whole life, mostly.

If that’s true, you can’t blame anybody or anything but yourself. Lack of confidence isn’t an excuse and it doesn’t really count as an obstacle. How do you know that it wasn’t your best critical judgment saying “not good enough yet”?

I could move that writing section you gave me to the Aftermath chapter and show people that you were still enjoying life, still working, after the war, regardless what you produced a publishable quality — or in publishable shape, I guess I mean — during that time.

See? That’s you getting your mind back into gear, instead of settling for being discontented and even hopeless.

Remind me, why are we doing this project? I don’t mean what’s in it for me, that’s obvious. I mean, what’s in it for the reader.

Just because everything you’re saying could be found here or there, or could be inferred by reading between the lines of enough books, doesn’t mean it’s going to be available to it anybody else. Not, necessarily, to scholars, even. You have the irreplaceable thing you were told about when you were very young — a viewpoint. That viewpoint can’t be duplicated anywhere, by any means. It is the same as your description of minds in The Cosmic Internet — any mind is irreplaceable and can’t be duplicated exactly. The thing is, is that mind different enough, is what it knows special enough? Yours is. You know me from the inside, you’ve had quite a bit of experience from the outside — reading books about me, I mean — and your other experiences give you a unique view of what is going on. Plus — who else could bring Carl to the subject?

And I hear, between the lines, that I haven’t done enough work expositing what’s going on.

No, you haven’t. This is a first-draft you’re working on. You are nowhere near ready for publication; you’re getting your forces into gear.

I got distracted by half-remembering something Col. Cantwell said about attacking or defending bathrooms, and somebody’s derisive commentary on your saying that.

If you wanted to — if — you could assemble an indictment from many sides, including those who irritate you the worst, and could then explain and defend. But why would you want to do that? An argument is not what we want here.

Yes, let’s pursue that just a bit. What do we want here?

You’re going to have to let go of your partner’s idea about something the scholars take seriously. That’s the wrong set of scholars! Not Hemingway scholars, but scholars investigating trans-personal communication. There’s your audience.

Hmm.

“Hmm” Is right! You aren’t going to convince the Hemingway scholars because you and they will talk right past each other. Your evidence — my point of view, our conversations — is just no evidence at all to them. They could agree with everything; it would still not be evidence, just opinion.

But your conversations are evidence of something else. They show how conversations may occur and become habitual and provide increased access to knowledge and to understanding. They ground a subject that too often flies off into the air. And your point of view — the point you begin from — is in itself a reorientation.

A little more on that?

Historians and amateur students of history do not tend to be the same people who explore nonphysical realities, as you well know. So, exploring from that viewpoint in itself is it a departure; in itself it

Wandered.

Your body is not tuned.

Well, I can see that. I start to see the connection between it and what I think of as “me.”

About time. Now, return to Carl and his part of all this. Can you see that this in itself would prevent Hemingway scholars from taking this book seriously in their own terms? And Jung scholars, too, of course.

I can now that you mention it, yes.

Well? That being so, doesn’t that refocus your intent on showing what is or isn’t possible?

What isn’t possible is a little clearer to me than what is possible.

Settle in. Think in images. What image arises when you think of this project?

Me sitting here writing, early in the morning, day after day, and quite happily.

Convey that.

Huh! In a way, that is just what I have been editing out.

Don’t I know it?

And yet, a straight transcript of our conversations wouldn’t work.

Too much life in between; too much explanation needed of what you’d been reading, how it had affected you, what other conversations you’ve been having. So what can you do about it?

Well, I thought I was doing it!

Go back to images.

The image that is right in front of me is all my loose-leaf binders and all my journals.

Why do you suppose you chose that image?

There’s a sort of continuity there — a lot of years of work.

Could you publish them as they are? Of course not, nor would you want to. They are your source-material, not your finished product. So are our conversations — yours, mine, Carl’s, Abraham Lincoln’s.

The various famous men — mostly men — are all queued up for a different book on society, I have assumed.

They could be. But first the fact and the value of the communication has to be established, and that is the purpose of this book.

It is?

It is. Look at it. Your career has its own logic, although it hasn’t been obvious to you. Muddy Tracks is your initial exploration. It’s the one that gives newcomers entrée. Sphere And Hologram carries it forward — here’s what you can get moving forward. Chasing Smallwood starts the next phase, that of direct communication about life as it is lived. Cosmic Internet sets out a theoretical structure for it, using it. And Hemingway shows you moving out a little farther, addressing a subject well enough known to draw attention and to serve as a check on your statements. After all, if you produced a book like that [a certain book that purported to be a channeled biography of George Washington that had all its “facts” wrong], it would be ridiculous and would be seen as ridiculous. When you come up with something that holds water and occasionally startles by bringing new clarity to a subject that seemed well understood, you help bring the two sides of the veil slightly closer. And that is the primary purpose, remember, not any correction of the Hemingway Myth, however desirable that would be.

Is this why the visualization book has been delayed and why other possible books haven’t gone anywhere?

Let’s just stick to this trail, for the moment. In fact, that answers your question. You’re laying out a trail, here.

And the lack of sales has been a protection while I wrote? But we need to sell now, papa!

Have you ever done anything like what you’re doing now? Internally, even? Timing is everything. You have what you need. You did your work in the dark. Now you can watch it in the daylight.

Well, I hope so. I don’t know how much time I have, but there’s so much to do!

Better use your time well, then.

All right. Thanks for all this. It does help.

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