Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Can't Please All The People All The Time



Those Mormon missionaries are indeed persistent. Yesterday while walking East on Speedway Boulevard after a trip to Fry's, I encountered them again. Well, the 20 year old black guy was one of the pair with whom I had conversed a few days ago; the other one was a new fellow, a more mature white-skinned guy, who offered to carry my grocery bags for me and tried to get me to shake his hand, which I refused to do.

The black guy asked if I had been praying, like he had previously requested me to do. I grinned at him and asked him if he had forgotten the things I had earlier told him -- how in my opinion praying to an imaginary being is a stupid thing to do, and how praying to an imaginary being that I did not even believe in was even stupider. He smiled at me but said nothing.

I mentioned that I had met my friend and follow walker, Mary Ann, a little earlier in the day and that she told me about her own encounter with the two of them. How she had told them she was Christian, believed in God and Jesus Christ, and that she would rather not talk about it on the street.

The black guy said that he remembered talking to her, and that she was a baker. I agreed, saying that she was a really nice lady. a retired housewife who baked goodies for the local fire department every week and walked about a mile and a half to deliver them to the station down the road.

The black guy said that he had told her he loved Red Velvet Cake and had asked her if she would bake him one. He said she had backed away, and  acted like she was afraid of him. He asked me if I would tell her that he was serious and really would like for her to bake him a cake. I chuckled a little but offered no answer.

The older man asked if we could get together sometime, somewhere, and talk seriously.

I laughed, shook my head, and said, "No way."

And I turned and walked on toward home.


In yesterday's blog entry I brought up the subject of rejection slips for writers. In my research I happened upon some startling rejection letters sent to now famous authors. Below is one of them. It's a letter sent to Ernest Hemingway rejecting his novel The Sun Also Rises.

75 Wiley Street
New York, N.Y.

June 14th, 1925.

Dear Mr. Hemingway:

Thank you for sending us your manuscript, The Sun Also Rises. I regret to inform you that we will not be offering you publication at this time.

If I may be frank, Mr. Hemingway -- you certainly are in your prose -- I found your efforts to be both tedious and offensive. You really are a man’s man, aren’t you? I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that you had penned this entire story locked up at the club, ink in one hand, brandy in the other. Your bombastic, dipsomaniac, where-to-now characters had me reaching for my own glass of brandy -- something to liven up 250 pages of men who are constantly stopping to sleep off the drink. What Peacock & Peacock is looking for, in a manuscript, is innovation and heart. I’m afraid that what you have produced here does not fit that description.

A great story, Mr. Hemingway, is built on a foundation of great characters. I had trouble telling yours apart. Remind me, which is the broken-hearted bachelor who travels aimlessly across Europe? Ah, yes! They all do! As I understand it, Jake Barnes is intended to be your hero. A hero, Mr. Hemingway, is a person the reader can care about, root for. Jake Barnes is too detached, too ineffective; I doubt he’d have the energy to turn the page and find out what happened to himself. I take exception, also, to your portrayal of Mike. There is nothing less appealing than a character who sits blithely by while his wife sleeps with half of the continent. I have not yet said anything about Brett, your only prominent female character. As a woman, was I intended to identify with this flighty girl who takes in men the way the others take in after-supper coffees? Let me tell you, Mr. Hemingway, I did not. Your languid characters deserve each other, really each one is more hollow than the next.

Of course, I doubt it’s possible to create a three-dimensional character with such two-dimensional language. Have you never heard of crafted prose? Style? Complexity of diction? It’s hard to believe an entire novel’s worth of pages could be filled up with the sort of short, stunted sentences you employ here. Let me be specific: at the start of the novel, you sum up a key character, Robert Cohn, with just five short words, "I was his tennis friend." This tells us nothing. Later, when Jake is looking out on the Seine -- the beautiful, historic, poetic Seine -- you write, "the river looked nice." Nice? The river looked nice? I dare say my young son could do better!

In short, your efforts have saddened me, Mr. Hemingway. I was hopeful that by 1925, the brutes would have stopped sending me their offerings. We at Peacock & Peacock, are looking to publish novels that will inspire. God knows, it’s what people need at this time. Certainly, what is not needed are treatises about bullfights and underemployed men who drink too much.


Mrs Moberley Luger


More rejections of famous works


Did You Know . . .?

William Sydney Porter better known as O. Henry, author of The Gift of the Magi, published over three hundred stories and became America’s favorite short-story writer, but when he died in 1910, he was virtually penniless.



On this day in 1851, an angry mob in San Francisco's business district tried two Australian suspects in the robbery and assault of C. J. Jansen.  Jansen was working at his store when two men beat him unconscious and stole $2,000.  Another merchant, William Coleman, then decided to play prosecutor and assembled judges and jury members from a crowd that had assembled at Portsmouth Square. Although some members of the mob wanted to hang the alleged thieves, the crowd dispersed, the makeshift jury deadlocked, and the suspects were returned to law enforcement officials.

Vigilantes were fairly common during the Gold Rush boom in San Francisco. One committee spent most of its time rooting out Australian ne'er-do-wells. They hanged four and tossed another 30 out of town. In 1856, a 6,000-member vigilante group was assembled after a couple of high-profile shooting incidents. This lynch mob hanged the suspects and then directed their attention to politics.

Such vigilante movements were generally popular all over the West in the middle and late 19th century. The San Francisco vigilantes were so well regarded that they took over the Democratic Party in the late 1850s and some became respected politicians.



1. Of, relating to, or dealing with literature: literary criticism.
2. Of or relating to writers or the profession of literature: literary circles.
3. Versed in or fond of literature or learning.

Literary fiction is a term principally used for certain fictional works that are claimed to hold literary merit. Despite the fact that all genres have works that are well written, those works are generally not considered literary fiction. To be considered literary, a work usually must be "critically acclaimed" and "serious". In practice, works of literary fiction often are "complex, literate, multi layered novels that wrestle with universal dilemmas".



(Feb 19, 1924 - Aug 29, 1987)
Lee Marvin was an American film and television actor. Known for his gravelly voice and 6 ft 2 in. stature, Marvin initially appeared in supporting roles, mostly villains, soldiers and other hard boiled characters. From 1957 to 1960, he starred as Detective Lieutenant Frank Ballinger in the NBC hit crime series, M Squad. In 1965, he won several awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actor, and Best Actor BAFTA and the Best Actor Golden Globe, for his dual roles in Cat Ballou.

(born February 19, 1985)
Haylie Duff is an American actress, singer-songwriter, producer and food blogger. She is the older sister of actress and singer-songwriter Hilary Duff. She is best known on her role as Sandy Jameson in the television series 7th Heaven, and as Annie Nelson in the made for television films Love Takes Wing and its sequel Love Finds a Home.

(born February 13, 1950
Scott Paulin is an American actor and television director. His work includes appearances in well-known television series like House M.D., ER, Cold Case, 24 and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. His film roles have included playing Deke Slayton in The Right Stuff, Brian Hunter in Pump Up the Volume, and roles in A Soldier's Story, Warning Sign, The Accused, I Am Sam and, the Red Skull (Tadzio de Santis) in the 1990 film, Captain America. He also is portraying the father of Kate Beckett in the series Castle.

(born February 19, 1966)
Justine Bateman is an American actress, writer, and producer. She is best known for her regular role as Mallory Keaton on the sitcom Family Ties (1982–1989). Until recently, Bateman ran a production & consulting company. In the fall of 2012, she started studying computer science at UCLA.


Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.
--Thomas Edison




  1. That Hemingway letter looks fake.

    1. Now that you mention it... I'll see what I can find out.