Tuesday, October 9, 2018

E.B.White Day Four

The sun is out - a mild day. So much to do that I don't know where to begin, including my first piano lesson after months of barely practicing - it will not be pretty. Here's your Elwyn Brooks White for today, the second post exactly 80 years ago - and yet how fresh he sounds.

August 1938
The item of $168.40 is also part guesswork, as there is nothing harder to estimate than a writer’s sustained creation – when his time is fairly valuable; and there are hours and hours when a writer’s time isn’t worth the paper he is not writing anything on.

October 1938
(On the pressure, when living in the country, to go deer hunting) …By and large my hunting has been with a .22 rifle and a mechanical duck, with dusk falling in gold and purple splendour in the penny arcades along Sixth Avenue. I imagine I would feel mighty awkward discharging a gun that wasn’t fastened to a counter by a small chain.
            This business of going after some deer meat is a solemn matter hereabouts. My noncommittal attitude has marked me as a person of doubtful character, who will bear watching. There seems to be some question of masculinity involved: until I slay my dragon I am still in short pants, as far as my fellow-countrymen are concerned. As for my own feelings in the matter, it’s not that I fear buck fever, it’s more than I can’t seem to work up a decent feeling of enmity toward a deer. Toward my deer, I mean. I think I’d rather catch it alive and break it to harness.
            Besides, I don’t really trust myself alone in the woods with a gun. The woods are changing. I see by the papers that our Eastern forests this season are full of artists engaged in making pencil sketches of suitable backgrounds for Walt Disney’s proposed picture “Bambi” – which is about a deer. My eyesight isn’t anything exceptional; it is quite within the bounds of probability that I would march into the woods after my deer and come home with a free-hand artist draped across my running board, a tiny crimson drop trickling from one nostril.

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