326 and Counting

Twice before I have gone through a year posting something on this blog every single day of the year. And not just by scheduling the publication wisely to cover every day, but by writing something and publishing something every single day. At this point, I have now written something and posted it for 326 days in a row, and being past the holidays and funeral for my mother, I am probably going to make 365 again for the third time.

This is Ernest Hemingway for those of you who have only heard his name before now.

This is a man who also wrote something every single day. He was a former journalist who worked as an ambulance driver during World War I, for the Italian Army, where he was wounded and won a medal for his service to the Italian government.

He developed a writing style with no author commentary, sparse but crucial details, and a reliance on the reader’s intelligence to figure out the themes of his writing.

His best work is the Novel, The Sun Also Rises.

I hold that opinion because I have not only read it, but I have also read and compared it to For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms, and several of his short stories. His writing is fiction, but highly autobiographical which makes his stories so realistic and accessible to all readers.

This is Charles Dickens, whom you have probably seen somewhere before when you really weren’t paying close attention.

This is also a man who wrote every single day. He started out writing for newspapers, but starting with his first major success as a fiction storyteller, The Pickwick Papers, he began writing mostly comic stories for monthly magazines.

He is noted for long paragraphs of vivid and plentiful details, and especially relatable and memorable characters.

His best work is the novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

I make that judgement after reading it three times, and also reading Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, David Copperfield, and The Old Curiosity Shop. There are also autobiographical features in the Boz’s works but he was a wonderfully astute people-watcher, and that dominates his narratives far more than his own personal story does.

I don’t have to tell you that this is Mark Twain… because it isn’t. It is Samuel Clemens
.

This writer is known particularly for his sense of humor. It should be mentioned, however, that his fiction is not only filled with humor, but was very keenly realistic. His use of author commentary probably makes him the opposite of Hemingway, but he still carries that journalistic quality of writing it exactly how he sees it… full of irony and irrationally-arrived-at truth.

I don’t know for a fact that he wrote every single day. But he probably did. He always said, “The writing of the literary greats is like fine wine, while my books are like water. WIne is good for those that can afford it, but everybody drinks water.” You can’t have writing that is as plentiful as water without writing fairly often.

His best book is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I am not the only one who thinks so. Hemingway wrote, “All American Literature began with one book, Huckleberry Finn.”

I have also read, Tom Sawyer, Pudd’nhead Wilson, The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Roughing It, and The Autobiography of Mark Twain.

So, what’s the point of all this literary foo-foo? Hemingway would expect you to figure that out for yourself. But I’m addicted to topic sentences, even if I wait til the end to reveal it. If you want to be a writer, you need to read a lot of really good writing. And even more important, you need to write every day.

3 Comments

Filed under strange and wonderful ideas about life, artists I admire, writing, writing teacher, writing humor, commentary, Mark Twain, novel writing

3 responses to “326 and Counting

  1. My favorite work by Hemingway is a collection of short stories, “The Nick Adams Stories.” Hemingway was a Michigander as a youth. I grew up in near the area where the stories were set. I know the forests and lakes and rivers of the north well. It is an interesting view of a Michigan of a hundred years earlier written as only he could have written it.

  2. Mickey, Hemingway learned his unique style as a reporter. It was crisp, yet descriptive. And, it taught him to write and write some more. Keith

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