I am at the 70,000 word mark on
THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS ABROAD ...
And the silence is loud, the inertia of writing weighing down on me.
After all this work, will anybody really WANT to read this novel?
I hear gruff words above me:
"Tarnation, Son! Let me tell you about two hellions who wrote ...
to each other ... and to the world at large."
It is the ghost of Mark Twain:
"Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald
had a lot in common. They were both drunks ... let's not be PC about it, shall we?"
Mark wrinkled his moustache.
"They both had intense and complicated marriages. They were both deeply committed to their craft.
Most importantly, they were literary giants at a time when the Great American Novel was more than just a myth—it was a real possibility."
"I don't want to write the Great American Novel ...." I began.
Mark laughed, "Shoot for the moon, son. Anyway, the two of them wrote to each other on how things were going for them."
The ghost of Hemingway sat down beside me, grumbling,
“Scott took LITERATURE so solemnly. He never understood that it was just writing as well as you can and finishing what you start.”
He lit up a cigar. "You quit, kid, and I will kick your butt from here to Putin. He loves you, don't you know?"
He shook his head.
"I was a believer in self-discipline while Scott depended on his Muse ... and week long benders, scribbling frantically and pushing his lank blonde hair out of his eyes."
"Me? I wrote like clock-work -- standing up at the typewriter, at the same time every day -- pushing through even the 'dry' days when the words came slowly."
He jabbed his cigar at me. "In life, you are either a doer or a dreamer."
Hemingway gruffed, "You just have to go on when it is worst and most helpless—
there is only one thing to do with a novel and that is go straight on through to the end of the damn thing.”
Mark lit up his own cigar. "Sometimes even Hemingway is right."