Want to Write a Novel? Just Do it.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight has been attending English classes at Stanford.
Knight graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1962 and has given over $100 million to the school since then.
One of the tidbits in the article I found particularly interesting is the way he reads The Sun Also Rises.

One of Mr. Knight’s homework assignments suggested he had a penchant for Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, about American expatriates, known for its thrilling bullfighting scenes set in Spain. “Writing 12 drafts and discussing them with Scott Fitzgerald did not hurt this book,” wrote Mr. Knight. “Love stories are what the public wants more than any other type of story, but they are the most difficult to write. Even for Hemingway.”
But Mr. Knight took exception to the book’s unadorned dialogue, prose that he says might have used a bit more narration from Mr. Hemingway’s pen. Mr. Knight also seems to disdain Brett Ashley, the book’s femme fatale who is “central to everything,” but “had nothing endearing about her except her beauty.”

I see Lady Ashley a bit differently. To me, she exemplifies the modern woman’s struggle for a post-Victorian identity, and ranks as one of the first “do-me” feminists in literary history.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.