Hemingway on his postwar books

Friday, July 22, 2011

Papa, why did you conceive of the land, sea, air book? The scope was way too big to be accomplished. As you recognize, you didn’t have time enough to learn air warfare let alone air realities in the first place. But was Across The River the land book, and Islands the part of the sea book?

You’re confusing yourself a bit. Yes, Across The River was my land war book, and maybe I could have done better to leave out the love story — though I don’t see how I could have, and to have Cantwell fall in a less impossible love wouldn’t have fit in either. But the indirect description of the aftereffects of battle and warfare was as well done as I could. If it was a bridge too far for my critics, I can’t help that. In time the book will rise or sink, and it won’t have much to do with the judgment of the critics of 1950.

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Conversations June 14, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

5:45 AM. All right, Papa, now what? Do you have a “next item on the agenda” to provide you with topics?

[TGU] Seth worked that way, but Seth in working with his friend Jane Roberts was working with a blanked slate. She had deliberately vacated the premises so that he could enter without having to contend with the ripples and eddies of a functioning conscious mind as he dictated his books. That’s not our situation here. Here, your interaction is a part of the process, which adds complications that have both helpful and non-helpful effects.

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Conversations May 14, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

7 AM. Papa, re-reading Babe In The Woods, the novel you helped me write a couple years ago, was fun! It had been long enough since I’d looked at it that it was new to me again. Now, obviously the level of technical skill I could bring to it was nowhere near what you could have brought to it, but for me it was a breakthrough. I well remember being so surprised first at how easily and well I put it together in a pretty short time and then — when Rita reminded me that a year and a half before, you’d promised to help me write a novel — that I could have forgotten and yet used the assistance. Not sure I have a question here, but thanks anyway. I suppose I might ask, “why me?”

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