The writer Ambrose Pierce once talked about the writing about the Civil War by the writer Stephen Crane. Ambrose said, “It sounds like he was right in the middle of it.” Ambrose actually had been in the Civil War, and Stephen Crane hadn’t. One time in a writing class we had this guy who had been a paramedic. He and his crew picked up hurt and sick people in an ambulance. I had no doubt that he had actually done what he said he’d done, but he wrote an execrable story about his experiences taking hurt people to the hospital. A writer who writes about some dangerous topic like mountain climbing might or might not be able to write about it eloquently, and a writer who had never climbed a mountain might write about it convincingly. It is because of the writer’s imagination. It is about the writer’s ability to put theirself in other people’s shoes. The quality of their writing will be judged by the reading public.
Yes, interesting…Hemingway kind of did both. He did a lot of the adventures he wrote about. Or observed them.
He committed suicide when he was 62. I used to envy his acclaim, but since he did that I don’t know.
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