I’ve been reading Ernest Hemingway On Writing, and something that I have taken away from it, is how unapologetic Hemingway is for not only his work, but his life. I don’t know about some of you out there, but I have an awful tendency to say sorry a lot and apologize in general. This is of course whether it is called for or not. I even have a writing idiosyncrasy where I tend to undermine my own statements with various phrases by not sounding sure of myself. This may be a more general problem, but for me, it is something of an annoying habit that I need to overcome.
Hemingway, rather than being callous or oblivious, carries himself in his quotes as an individual who simply lives and does what he is passionate about. He seems to think it irrelevant what anyone else thinks, but not in the careless ‘I do what I want’ sense that most idiot youngsters say now. The irrelevance of ‘what other people think’, for Hemingway, is found more in the reality that he finds pleasure in his writing and that’s that. He doesn’t need to trot about the streets and shout about it, he’d much rather just do the action that brings him his joy. The same concerns his hunting and fishing as well.
There is something to be said for that attitude. And if nothing else it is something to adopt in order to take in stride with how we deal with our interests/passions. We spend so much time ‘talking’ about what we want to do or how we ‘wish’ we could do something great, but talking just amounts to just that, talking. When we are called up on our talking it then becomes nothing more than us apologizing or making excuses for ourselves. Enough with the ‘sorrys’ and more ‘doing’ or ‘keep goings’.
…writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done- so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well. -Ernest Hemingway to Ivan Kashkin (From the Selected Letters)