Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It’s not so much staying alive, it’s staying human that’s important. What counts is that we don’t betray each other. George Orwell

My cousin called me yesterday and said, “I met Hemmingway.” Of course, she means she started reading one of his books. Other than what she read of him in school she has never read any of his books. I haven’t read his books either.

What makes a Master? I have a book called “Write Like the Masters.” I started reading it and will take notes. We tend only to see the results of masters we don’t see what they did to become masters. We figure they must be special, but we often underestimate the amount of work it has taken to develop their skills to be masters. It isn’t just innate skill that makes masters it is also hard work and practice at their craft.

There is a story that Pablo Picasso was in a bar in Paris having lunch. A woman who recognized him came over and asked him “Excuse me, sir, aren’t you Pablo Picasso?” As Pablo confirmed he was, the woman handed him a napkin and asked, “Can you please draw something for me?”

Pablo took the napkin and got to work. 10 minutes later he was done and as he handed over the napkin back to the woman he said, “That’s $10,000.”

The woman looked flabbergasted and said, “$10,000? But it only took you 10 minutes to draw that.” Pablo looked at the woman and said, “Yes, but it took me 25 years to know how to do this in 10 minutes.”

I’m looking at an article from The New York Times dated January 12, 1992, “Reading Hemingway without Guilt” by Fredrick Busch. He says, “It is not fashionable these days to praise the work of Ernest Hemingway. His women too often seem to be projections of male needfulness. There are too many examples of his lifelong anti-Semitism, his affection for denigrating black people in just too many forums private and public. And he was violent: he loved bullfights…

He is so very incorrect, except in this: he gave the century a way of making literary art that dealt with the remarkable violence of our time. He listened and watched and invented the language – using the power, the terror, of silence – with which we could name ourselves.”

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. George Orwell

Writers don’t write only about what is correct, beautiful, noble, and good because that is not where the story is. Writers know their characters do not always do what they should, and think what they should because people don’t do those things. If there is nothing to overcome, if everything is how it should be, then there is no story.

Can we judge people by the standards of our time that lived in other times? If we get rid of all the works of people who didn’t live how we wanted or think what we think they should have thought, how does that serve us?

In this era of political correctness, some people seem unaware that being squeamish about words can mean being blind to realities. Thomas Sowell

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable. George Orwell

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