Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oh, Please!

I spent the afternoon watching The Snows of Kilimanjaro, an old flick about a “Hemingwayesque” author, starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, and Susan Hayward. I wish I could say I enjoyed it, but with the exception of seeing Gregory Peck–my all-time favorite actor, regardless of his age–I hated it. Truly. Something occurred early in the film that upset me no end, and I wasn’t able to shake it during the entire two hours it ran.

It wasn’t the implied sex and Harry Street’s lascivious lifestyle that bothered me. These days, we’re accustomed to far worse. Heaven knows today’s commercials contain far more innuendo than the film did.

The smoking didn’t get me either. My dad’s family is from Georgia, a tobacco state, and they were one of the ones who made a living on the crop. Being ashamed of our heritage is a comparatively recent societal requirement. Besides, as everyone knows, smoking in these old films is common.

The drinking wasn’t a problem either. Face it–the story is about an author. Any author, Christian or otherwise, can occasionally see how our chosen career can drive a writer to drink. Not all of us act on it, but there are times when I, for one, can be totally sympathetic.

No, what furrowed my brow and deepened my frown wrinkles was this: Harry got a contract on his first book, and an advance high enough to leave France for Africa. But it gets better: his royalties were high enough for him to live comfortably, go on safaris, and travel all over Europe.

And get this–never once did they portray Harry struggling to promote his book. Not once!

Oh, please! You expect me to believe that?

I’m an anachronism, absolutely in the wrong era. I should’ve been born early in the last century and reached the peak of my career in the 1940s.

Ah, well. I have something the early writers didn’t. I have a computer.
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  1. Wow, Linda. I agree, that is quiet a Hollywood fantasy - a happily ever after that Hollywood is sometimes so good at. Never mind the truth...

  2. Hah! I've been wanting to watch this movie because of its Kenyan setting, but now I think I *really* better watch it just so I can throw popcorn at the screen!

  3. LOL! Maybe we all just need to write like Hemingway?

  4. Cecilia Marie--these days things like that happen only in Hollywood!

    Katie--just don't get butter on your TV screen!

    Lynnette--now that would be something!

  5. Ah, Linda, if only life were like a movie... *sigh*

    Thanks for giving me a grin today. :)

  6. Thanks for this look at the wild side. :o)

  7. Wow...great post and you are SO right! Thanks for helping us all vent...(-:

  8. Glad everyone got a giggle out of it--and agreed with me! :D

  9. This reminds me of the ad I got on Facebook for awhile. It said I could make a lot of money writing children's books--a "comfortable" (read: rich) living, no less!

    The world is full of liars taking advantage of popular stereotypes. Very few people can make ends meet with their writing, much less get rich on it. You have to be a BIG NAME already to go further.

    ~ VT

  10. LOL! This cracked me up. I have people assume all the time that because I have a publishing contract that I'm swanning around on private jets, wearing tiaras and going to charity balls. The film industry has done us no favours there!

    Truth is, most published authors don't even make a living--nearly all the ones I know have day jobs.

  11. A good chuckle on how our chosen career can drive us to drink. I'm nodding my head thinking, "Oh, yeah!" :)

  12. Hemingway's short story by the same name is worth a read. It is a more realistic representation of Peck's character's struggle as a writer.

    The story makes it clear that it is his wife's wealth that pays for his travels, not his royalties. Oh the chivalry of old Hollywood!

    Didn't know there was a movie - I'll have to check it out! Thanks :)

  13. VT--that's so true. Few writers, something like 2%, make a living at their craft.

    India--Congrats on the contract!!! That's something else hard for writers to get!!!

    Lorna--glad you get a kick out of it.

    KRM--I'm glad you clarified whose wealth they were living on. The post was intended just for fun, but I'm not sure I got the right impression from the flick. Thanks for your comment!

  14. Is that REALLY your face?

  15. Well,

    Nope, I am not gonna believe it. It is a movie after-all.


    everyone out there, please help me. I finished my first short story the other day (10k words) and don't know whom and how to approach for submission. Please do help me out with some advice.

    with warm regards

  16. Well - I am all for the drinking - and smoking and writing like good ole Hem. But do remember the end? If I had to hammer out my work on an old Royal = I'd be dead drunk by now too!

    Send me a six toed cat - and I will keep the computer - the evil marketing - the impossible rejection - of today --- over the hopeless alone of yesterday's writer.

    Wealthy or poor!