One True Sentence

It was wonderful to walk down long flights of stairs knowing that I’d had good luck working.  I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.  But sometimes when I was started on a new story and I could not get going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made.  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 the scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.

Excerpt from A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway



Filed under NaNaWriMoMo, Writing

2 responses to “One True Sentence

  1. Papa Hemingway,

    One of my favorites he wrote was less than a full page in which he described coming under fire in some war. As the bullets fly and the mortar shells explode, he prays to God to help him. He promises God his eternal devotion and guarantees a change in his bad ways.
    That is, until the battle ends.
    And he forgets all about God when he goes to visit the friendly, dark-haired young woman in the room upstairs.

    Just one true sentence. God, he was good.

    Michael J

  2. That’s interesting!

    I can see it: impassioned words muttered fervently to God, ringing so very true in the moment…only to move on, when all is calm, to the next truth!

    Thank you for providing insightful context ~

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