Ernest Hemingway on Writing

In 1996, I read E. Hotchner’s book, Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir. It was one of those books that changed me. The book has an opening epigraph, a quote of Hemingway’s, that I memorized after reading the book and have used at the beginning of every freshman composition class I taught. The quotation reminds us of the work required to produce good writing and how Father Time must be paid before quality writing can be produced. Here are Hemingway’s words: There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things, and because it takes man’s life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave. –Ernest Hemingway