Week Seven: Beneath of the Planet of the Alcotts

I did say I would post my energy playlist, so you were forewarned. This is only about half the glorious action-movie montage music that inspires me to punch things and walk really fast. My mum says she prefers Pink and Maroon 5, but I find that only the songs about killing dudes and being independent and dancing about it gets me going. Oh, and One Direction.

Pumped Up Kicks, Foster the People
Song 2, Blur
Roar, Katy Perry
Miss Jackson, Panic! at the Disco ft Lolo
Survivor, Destiny’s Child
This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race, Fall Out Boy
Take Me Out, Franz Ferdinand
DARE, Gorillaz
It’s My Life, No Doubt version
URA Fever, the Kills
Dubstep of Gotta Be You, One Direction
Fell in Love With a Girl, White Stripes
Maneater, Nelly Furtado


I finally ordered Susan Cheever’s biography of Louisa May Alcott today. Considering how I felt about Cheever’s American Bloomsbury, I don’t expect to be super impressed, but I’ll keep you updated on how much she’s disappointed me.

So these last couple of weeks haven’t been the standard LMA fare, but I’m looking for anything that inspires me to move and do things. LMA makes me want to be active, Emerson makes me want to read, and Hemingway makes me want to write (and drink). Last week I was thinking about Emerson, like you do, and this week I’m thinking about Pound and Hemingway, like you also do. Partially it’s because I’m taking American Lit I and II, which feed into each other so I’m sometimes not sure what paper I’m writing for which class, but also because both Pound and Hemingway gathered people around them in the same way Emerson did. Pound wanted to help and teach, while Hemingway mostly just wanted to fix everyone’s stupid problems so he could go back to writing and shooting things in Africa, but they both shared this incredible kind of energy and desire to go out and do shit, aka the theme of this blog. Hemingway is the only author whose writing advice I actually follow. From A Moveable Feast:

“I always worked until I had done something and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next…I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.’ So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written. Up in that room I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about. I was trying to do this all the time I was writing, and it was good and severe discipline.

“It was in that room too that I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything, I hoped; learning, I hoped; and I would read so that I would not think about my work and make myself impotent to do it. Going down the stairs when I had worked well, and that needed luck as well as discipline, was a wonderful feeling and I was free then to walk anywhere in Paris.”

“When I was writing, it was necessary for me to read after I had written. If you kept thinking about it, you would lose the thing that you were writing before you could go on with it the next day. It was necessary to get exercise, to be tired in the body, and it was very good to make love with whom you loved. That was better than anything. But afterwards, when you were empty, it was necessary to read in order not to think or worry about your work until you could do it again. I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

“…I had omitted [the end of “Out of Season”] which was that the old man hanged himself. This was omitted on my new theory that you could omit anything if you knew that you omitted and the omitted part would strengthen the story and make people feel something more than they understood.”

He wrote 500 words a day, and if he knew he wouldn’t be able to write one day, he’d do the extra work the day before. When people think of him now, they think of a drunk misogynist with a huge white beard. A bit Sean Connery without the Scottish accent. And he totally was that guy, but he was also really disciplined about his writing, and all about getting things done like a boss. And he was way energetic and would go off and chill in Paris and then go teach Ezra Pound how to box, and then go off and ski in the mountains and have an affair, and then try to keep Scott Fitzgerald from falling into a river in a drunken stupor (and reassure Fitzgerald that his penis is totally a normal size – you should really read A Moveable Feast if you haven’t already).


I decided, on reflection, not to use a shirtless pic of him when he was already in the Sean Connery/Papa Hemingway years. You’re welcome.

Things that need to be done this week:

-5-page paper
-10-page paper
-Schedule more teeth-pulling
-Walk walk walk walk
-Write write write write
-Sleep sleep sleep sleep


Living in…Little Women by Design Sponge (the “living in” series is my favorite)

Productivity Lessons from Hemingway, because he was a Cosmo tips kind of guy

Habits of Extremely Happy People (you will probably end up somewhat annoyed by this, like I was, but maybe it will inspire you a little)

Writing Tools of 20 Authors (though they leave out Colette, whose description of her writing tools might be my favorite)


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