People like to read about people – and writers are no different. History is strewn with personal anecdotes about those is the writing profession in some way or another – authors, journalists, professionals and others.
Here are a few I’ve found.
James Bennett, no fan of rival publisher William Randolph Hearst, was one day irked to discover that Hearst was plotting to buy his ailing New York Herald. Sure enough, he soon received correspondence from Hearst asking how much the newspaper would cost, and promptly sent a cable in return. His reply? "Price of Herald three cents daily. Five cents Sunday. Bennett."
One evening during the Napoleonic wars, the English poet Thomas Campbell caused a stir at a literary dinner by proposing a toast - to Napoleon Bonaparte. Waiting for the din to subside, Campbell raised his voice and said, "Gentlemen, you must not mistake me. I admit that the French emperor is a tyrant. I admit that he is a monster. I admit that he is the sworn foe of our nation, and, if you will, of the whole human race... But, gentlemen, we must be just to our enemy. We must not forget that he once shot a bookseller, Johann Palm of Nuremberg!" The audience, consisting largely of fellow authors, broke into spontaneous applause.
One day while Georges Simenon (a writer famed for his incredible efficiency) was working on his 158th novel, the telephone rang in his home in France and was promptly answered by his wife. It was Alfred Hitchcock calling long-distance from the United States. "I'm sorry," said Mme Simenon, "but Georges is writing and I would rather not disturb him." "Let him finish his book," Hitchcock replied. "I'll hang on..."
Samuel Goldwyn once enlisted a ghostwriter to write a series of articles on his behalf. Midway through the assignment, however, the writer became ill and a substitute had to be found. One day Goldwyn read an article penned by the stand-in - and was rather disappointed. His complaint? "That's not at all up to my usual standard!"
Do you have any?
And you can see more on my blog post at http://frankfiore.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/writing-anecdotes/