Saturday, August 26, 2023

Quote of the Day (Ernest Hemingway, on His Antidote to Writer’s Block as a Young Man)

“Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, 'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.' So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.”—American Nobel Literature laureate Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), A Moveable Feast (1964)

Not bad advice for those of us staring at a blank screen. It’s also, of course, even more beautifully written than I had remembered, with the images of the oranges and the fire combining, in a wholly organic way, into a symbol for the creative process, with the nonessential discarded into what’s left is something unusual and colorful: “the sputter of blue.”

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