Veronique Darwin

Hemingway’s Speech

In Thoughts on Writing on May 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm

This is how Ernest Hemingway’s Nobel Prize for Literature acceptance speech begins:

“Having no facility for speech-making and no command of oratory nor any domination of rhetoric, I wish to thank the administrators of the generosity of Alfred Nobel for this Prize.”

and how it ends:

“I have spoken too long for a writer. A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it. Again I thank you.”

I cling to anything anyone (especially Hemingway) says that helps explain my inability to speak my mind. I am only able to write what I mean, not speak it. Trying to argue with someone is like bashing my way through the woods. I need to picture my words, but can’t when they’re not written. I like to think this shortcoming makes me a writer.

I’m drawn to inspiring stories where people with real handicaps have used the written word to express themselves.

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby (Le Scaphandre et Le Papillon)

 

Any other stories to share? Experiences from the other side?

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