Unashamed Writing

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Writers’ smack talk – part 2

trash talkA little while ago I wrote about some writers’ smack talk … or trash talk, I found in An Insider’s Guide to Publishing by David Comfort. At the time, I found it pretty funny. I read it again tonight and guess what? I still found it funny!

Not only did that post make me smile, it also reminded me that I have to write part 2 and give you the rest of the smack talk I found in that book. I have to warn you that at least one of the upcoming quotes is pretty vicious.

“Their sin,” writes Patric Anderson in The Triumph of the Thrillers, “is that they treat their readers like idiots. Some of them can’t help it – that’s how their minds work – but others deliberately dumb down their work because a lot of money is made that way.

– Patric Anderson talking about writers of popular fiction

The sad, awful truth was that there was hardly any evidence at all of talent in the slush pile and plenty of proof … that the country was full of crazy people armed with typewriters.

– Michael Korda, Another Life about manuscripts submitted for review

Bennet Cerf wrote that, after lectures, he was beset by Hemingways who told him, “Well, I’m a young writer and I have a work of genius,” only to discover on review that it was unbelievable junk. In a word: sh*t.

– David Comfort, An Insider’s Guide to Publishing

She is stupid, heavy, and garrulous. Her ideas on morals have the same depth of judgment and delicacy of feeling as those of janitresses and kept women … The fact that there are men who could become enamored of this sl*t is indeed proof of the abasement of the men of this generation.

– Baudelaire about George Sand (Marquise de Dudevant)

“I believe you might become a very popular trashy novelist without much difficulty,” said Edmund Wilson, the future Dean of American Criticism, to his pal F. Scott Fitzgerald.

– David Comfort, An Insider’s Guide to Publishing

Evelyn Vaugh told the BBC, “A poor dotty Irishman called James Joyce … thought to a be a great influence in my youth … wrote absolute rot.”

– David Comfort, An Insider’s Guide to Publishing

The surrealist poet and novelist Jean Cocteau declared: “We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?”

– David Comfort, An Insider’s Guide to Publishing

T.S. Eliot himself said: “I suppose some editors are failed writers; but so are most writers.”

– David Comfort, An Insider’s Guide to Publishing

[Voltaire] called Hamlet, “a vulgar and barbarous drama which would not be tolerated by the vilest populace of France or Italy.”

Grading the Bard’s compositions, Samuel Johnson said he had to red pencil ever “six consecutive lines.” Dickens found his stories “so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.” Tolstoy, who rarely criticized anybody, called the tragedies and comedies “rude, vulgar, and senseless.” And George Bernard Shaw threatened to “dig him up and throw stones at him” for “his monstrous rhetorical fustian, and unbearable platitudes.”

– David Comfort, An Insider’s Guide to Publishing

I’ll stop now. George Bernard Shaw’s comment about Shakespeare made me laugh the most. I have personally never read Shakespeare. I got “upset” with him when I first learned that he killed Romeo and Juliet. I refused to read anything he wrote. Now that I’m a writer myself, I’ve added him to my to-read list. I hope I won’t get so worked up about his writing as George Bernard Shaw did. Can you imagine me digging Shakespeare up and throwing stones at him?!? LOL

P.S. Here is a funny quote I found about the difference between smack talk and trash talk.

I don’t talk trash; I talk smack. They’re totally different. Trash talk is all hypothetical, like, “Your mama’s so fat, she could eat the Internet.” But smack talk is happening, like, right now. Like, “You’re ugly and I know it for a fact ’cause I got the evidence right there.”

Kelly Kapoor, The Office

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