Dorothy Parker’s telegram to her editor.
This are my thoughts at almost every deadline, but especially with this novel. The story is finally where I want it, but there are still so many rough edges I want to cry. I want every syllable to be brilliant.
Never have done such hard night and day work never have so wanted anything to be good and all I have is a pile of paper covered with wrong words.
David gets turned in tomorrow, wrong words and all.
(PS: Thank God for copyedits.)
Posts tagged Letter.
Letter from Picasso to Gertrude Stein
the man had a messy hand to say the least, but i think i’ve finally managed to decipher this:
“mais non gertrude
il n’y a pas des mouches et je n’ai vu encore qu’un moustique, que j’ai tué d’ailleurs. ecrives si ce couer vous dit. milles bonnes choses de nous deux a vous [et mlle toklas]*.
and, in my terrible translation:
“actually, gertrude, no, there are not many flies, and i haven’t seen more than one mosquito, which i killed by the way. write if you feel like it (literally “if your heart tells you to”). the best of wishes (literally “a thousand good things”) to you and miss toklas.
*when you first read the card, it looks like it says ‘mille bonnes choses et mille fokey de nous…”, but if you look harder “Fokey” becomes an especially messy “Toklas”, and you can see after “deux” where he realised he should mention her, and the bracket he added to insert her name into that line. or, at least, that’s the only way i could get that bit to make sense. maybe (by which i mean really very possibly) there’s another french word that makes sense there? anyone?
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote this letter to his editor, Max Perkins, when he set out to write The Great Gatsby. He included these words:
“I want to write something new — something extraordinary and beautiful and simple & intricately patterned.”
Happy International Women’s Day:From 1971, a powerfully succinct letter from Nancy Spero to Lucy Lippard; two highly influential women whose paths crossed numerous times; Spero as a feminist artist, Lippard as a feminist art critic, historian and curator.
via Letters of Note
Part of a letter Virginia Woolf wrote to Katherine Mansfield on February 13, 1921
In this long letter to Katherine Mansfield, Woolf talks about how important it is “that women should learn to write.” Mansfield echoes Woolf’s dedication to the art of writing in her journal fragment: “What is your ultimate desire—to what do you so passionately aspire? To write books and stories and sketches and poems.” These two fiercely committed writers had an intimate but guarded friendship. Prelude by Katherine Mansfield was the second publication of the Hogarth Press. Leonard and Virginia Woolf spent nine months printing and binding three hundred copies by hand. In her letter Woolf tells Mansfield that the reviews are enthusiastic: “Morgan Forster said that Prelude & The Voyage Out were the best novels of their time…”
Woolf was writing Jacob’s Room in 1921, but had to break off from fiction writing to earn money for printing paper: “I shall write an article on Dorothy Wordsworth and so pay for our new sheets.” In her letter, Woolf also contrasts her style to Mansfield’s: “What I admire in you so much is your transparent quality.” In Jacob’s Room: “I’m always, chopping & changing from one level to another. I think what I’m at is to change the consciousness, & so to break up the awful stodge… I feel as if I didn’t want just all realism any more—only thoughts & feelings—no cups & tables.”
Woolf also talks about the genesis of her short story, “A Society,” which was published along with other short pieces in Monday or Tuesday: “Like an idiot I lost my temper with Arnold Bennett and wasted my time writing a foolish violent, I suppose unnecessary satire… Suppose some poor wretch who wanted to write was put off by that little grocer?” Mansfield particularly admired “Kew Gardens” from Monday or Tuesday.
In the letter, Woolf also gossips about her friends T. S. Eliot and Lytton Strachey: “I like Eliot, & pity him, as if he suffered a great deal from having acquired a shell which he can’t lift off. Meanwhile all sorts of things grow underneath, very painfully. But this is guess work. We only make signs to each other. Lytton is as mellow as a pear. Queen Victoria is done, & he is set up for life on the proceeds.” Lytton Strachey dedicated his 1921 biography of Queen Victoria “To Virginia Woolf.”
A letter from H.G. Wells to the mayor of Cambridge.
see the website for more Letters of Note
Ingmar Bergman tells the Oscars to go fuck themselves.
Franz Kafka’s signature in a letter to Milena Jesenská. It reads:
Franzwrong, Fwrong, Yourswrong/ nothing more calm, deep forest.
Prague, July 29, 1920.
Letters to Milena. Franz Kafka, trans. Philip Boehm. New York: Schocken Books, 1990.
Kafka and Jesenská met twice: once in Vienna for four days, and in Gmünd for one. Kafka gave her his diaries at the end of his life.
A publisher rejects Gertrude Stein’s manuscript in 1912, by lampooning the shit out of it.