The Paris Review; The Hemingway Interview

INTERVIEWER

Can you dismiss from your mind whatever project you’re on when you’re away from the typewriter?

HEMINGWAY

Of course. But it takes discipline to do it and this discipline is acquired. It has to be.

INTERVIEWER

Is emotional stability necessary to write well? You told me once that you could only write well when you were in love. Could you expound on that a bit more?

HEMINGWAY

What a question. But full marks for trying. You can write any time people will leave you alone and not interrupt you. Or rather you can if you will be ruthless enough about it. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love. If it is all the same to you I would rather not expound on that.

INTERVIEWER

How about financial security? Can that be a detriment to good writing?

HEMINGWAY

If it came early enough and you loved life as much as you loved your work it would take much character to resist the temptations. Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it. Financial security then is a great help as it keeps you from worrying. Worry destroys the ability to write. Ill health is bad in the ratio that it produces worry which attacks your subconscious and destroys your reserves.

INTERVIEWER

What would you consider the best intellectual training for the would-be writer?

HEMINGWAY

Let’s say that he should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced by his own self to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with.

Ernest Hemingway.

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    I’ve been reading Hemingway.
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    Literary BADASS
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