TALKING TO PAPA: AN INTERVIEW with ERNEST HEMINGWAY

In his Nobel acceptance speech--to which he refers here--Hemingway said that writers should write, not talk.  This interview proves him right.  Speaking in a strange staccato voice from verbatim notes apparently arranged on the floor, he's more wooden than his contemporary cultural icon Howdy Doody.  Worse, he's so nervous that he actually articulates the punctuation marks in the cheat sheets.  As you'll see, when the agony ends, he grips the interviewer's hand with a gratitude and relief so genuine that it brings tears to the eyes.

Sadly, though, it must be noted that the Nobel to which he refers was awarded in 1954.  That means that the man we're looking at was a very old 53, with seven more years of hard living to go.  Plimpton remarked that towards the end you could actually see his liver.  Though certainly a stranger to neither grain nor grape myself, I have to say that Hemingway's appearance here is a powerful reminder that it's a good idea to tap the brakes every now and again.

And of course, that writers should write, not talk.