Trying to Avoid the Usual Tragedy of an American Male with a Writing Habit
Scott broke a few bones in his back while diving off a cliff in Mexico a while back, and prefers to write standing up. There are times when he makes himself comfortable enough to write sitting down, but he doesn’t recommend any such methods. Scott insists that he was born uncomfortable, so why worry about such matters now. Besides, Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up, and look where it got him. But, as every One who is any One knows, the Hem was born a little girl and wore dresses…which will turn any One into a raving Macho, as they call them south of the U.S. of A.. Don’t believe me…here’s some visual proof, and you know it’s got to be true – after all, it’s on the internet.
Imagine the great Hem’s discomfort if he ever knew this picture would be released into cyber-space for the world to view. In the end it means near nothing though, since Scott has never worn a dress, as of yet, and has refused to Hem-ify himself to any extent other than smashing automobiles into various objects, such as:
A. – A liquor store
B. – A portable outhouse (he insists a friend said it was “…all clear..”)
C. – A couple of parked cars, the number never verified
D. – A moving car…he tries to avoid these more dangerous collisions
E. – A boat (legend has it the boat being transported on a trailer)
Any Way…the Hem had his problems also, as the unfortunate passenger on two airplanes when they suddenly obeyed the insistent laws of gravity and fell to the ground. The first was in Africa, where the Hem was on safari. The second was also in Africa, being the airplane he took the next day to seek medical care for injuries resulting from the initial crash. Over these two days the Hem received spinal damage, two concussions, and several broken bones – including his skull.
Scott says he flies more than he likes, and does not like to think about the Hem’s aerial mishaps, cliffs in Mexico, or the laws of gravitation.
Then, there’s this unreasonable fear of success – something he attributes to the Hem and nearly every other American male literary figure who has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature…and a sad and sobering record it is.
1930 – Sinclair Lewis becomes the U.S. of A.’s first Nobel Prize winner for literature, despite consuming alcohol in unfathomable quantities. When admitted to a mental hospital and informed he had to decide, “whether he was going to live without alcohol or die by it, one or the other,” he checked himself out. Lewis’s death was attributed to a heart attack brought on by the effects of severe alcoholism.
1936 – Eugene O’Neill, born in a hotel room to an actor/drug addict mother, lived a life of severe depression and alcoholism. He was rewarded handsomely for his stage tragedies, and punished harshly for his tragic life. He eventually returned to a hotel room, awaiting a death that didn’t have a hard time finding him. His final words concerning being born and dying in a hotel room got him into the Final Words Hall of Fame.
1949 – William Faulkner, drank alcohol in unfathomable quantities until he toppled off a horse in 1959, dying five years later, a resident in a sanitorium in Byhalia, Mississippi.
1954 – Ernest Hemingway, drank alcohol in unfathomable quantities, and after his two aerial lessons in gravitational force he was burned horribly in a fire, became so paranoid that he was being watched by the F.B.I. that he often refused to leave bed for days, and was administered electroconvulsive therapy at least fifteen times. Depressed beyond diagnosis, in constant pain, and horrified by memory loss he blamed on his “therapy,” he used the business end of a shotgun on himself.
1962 – John Steinbeck, openly sympathetic to worker’s rights movements, welcoming to Communists, and critical of capitalism, Steinbeck was also harassed by J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I., receiving an I.R.S. audit every year. He passed in and out of depressive states
1976 – Saul Bellow, is the anomaly here. Bellow almost died as a child from a double dose of peritonitis and pneumonia, as an adult from an incident with a crocodile in Egypt, and a poisonous Red Snapper that left him in a coma for two weeks as an elderly man. Despite his occupation he somehow avoided the drugs, alcohol, depression, and ignominious deaths that have taken so many of his peers. There’s got to be one in every bunch that ruins a good story with some obvious fact. Thanks, Bellow.
(Men of letters with a slash in their ethnic backgrounds…such as Czeslaw Milosz and Issac Bashevis Singer, both Polish/American, as well as T. S. Eliot, British/American have been spared. Poets were not considered, or this list of misery would have gone on forever).
Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.
– T.S. Eliot