Sunday, September 20, 2020

Charles A. Smith Letters, Part Five (writing lesson!) - Dennis Weis



Marlon Brando

Dr. Suess
 Beautifully Created Interrogation Room Series from Four Countries: 
 1986 . . . 

Thank you for sending me a copy of my article in on the Wunderkind from MMI (Musclemag International). I must say I was a bit surprised it hadn't been blue penciled too much. I believe the only thing that had been changed was my seeing ______ do several reps in the bent press. That - note think - I wrote I had seen him do ONE bent press rep. As for the 310 lb clean & jerk, this was true, but the ______ weights were so inaccurate so far as stated face value went - in some, over weight, that though the face value of the bar was 300, we gave him 310.
Incidentally in the October edition of ______ there is an article allegedly written by ______ in which that chap claims ______ invented the Rest Pause system of training. Now this is just sheer unadulterated NONSENSE. In fact to shove it in the vernacular it is a CROCK. This so-called training principle - like ALL of those claimed as ______ inventions were in use fifty, sixty and more years ago. 
The rest pause method was actually boosted by Joseph Curtis Hise with his breathing squats in 1932, a year when the so-called ______ since 1936 was a mere 10 years of age and hadn't even heard of a barbell.  Hise used to drop into a squat, rebound back up to upright position, take three deep breaths and repeat for the required reps. Article after article was written about this in the old STRENGTH mag and some of the early IRON MAN mags and VIGOUR mag published by Roger Eells. 
Why ______ has to make claims like these is beyond me, but it has gone from the outright deceptive to the plain stupid. Surely, the man must realize that there are HUNDREDS of men around who know this claim just isn't so.
My article about the ______, a ridiculous name - was the truth, the whole and nothing but. There's lots more I could have said, but libel laws and post office regulations would have had me in court and the MMI mag burned for containing obscene material. What I said was the NICE things. There were BOOKS left unsaid. But the truth is there - one must respect the man, even though a tangential respect, for what he has achieved - and let me state NOT ENTIRELY on his own - from so little education and worn out tools. 
However, compared to Bernarr MacFadden he is nothing. It would be like comparing the first edition of IRON MAN with the present ______ Empire. 
Have seen a copy of Hoffman's will. It is as if the man saw into the future since he makes provisions in the will for his executors to rigorously contest any contesting of the will as Grimek is now doing. He also says he isn't married - although he lived common law with Alda Ketterman for thirty years. He also says he has no children now nor did he EVER have any children living or dead. Yet Hise always swore by the gods that Hoffman had a son. Hoffie died worth millions - millions he made out of the sport he was continually claiming he had given so much to. Seems to me for every dollar he put into it he got four or five out in return.
I haven't seen, nor have I read ______'s ______, although my daughter tells me I am mentioned in it a couple of times and am even in the index. Some honor. I therefore cannot vouch for any accuracy of Wayne's statements. However, I would suspect that when he wrote the book, he did not so with an eye on which side his bread was buttered  and said loads to butter up the ______ ego and naught to disturb it - after all he WORKS for the ______. You don't throw away dirty water until it's replaced by a bowl of clean.
As for ______ writing. To start with, his real name is ______. He was born in the West Indies - St. Lucia, famous for its bay rum. He did serve in the British Army for a while, but his life in the U.K. seems to be somewhat veiled. I think he is a good writer but a SHALLOW one, much like the writings of Oscar Wilde, apart from Wilde's De Profundis . . . 
that ______ writes more for effect and to impress than he does for instruction and education. His stuff isthe dough gossip columnists get their material from - in my opinion. 
As for the accuracy of what I tell you, that I can't vouch for either, unless I say directly that I KNOW it happened. Most of the stuff I get has been handed down from this or that person and thus may be added to in the telling. 
As for my giving you tips on how to write - pray tell me how I can improve MY writing. I can give you some hints, but whether or not they will be effective in your case I don't know. I was able to read at a very early age - four - and indeed at that age I read Charles Dickens' OLIVER TWIST. Since then I have been devoted to Dickens who, before he became a novelist, was a newspaper reporter in early Victorian times. Another whom I greatly admire is Somerset Maugham.    

 He is, in my opinion, the GREATEST short story writer this world has ever seen with the possible exception of Guy deMaupassant. Maugham uses simple words and language and never uses any multi-syllable word where he can use a word of a single syllable. I recommend you read some of his short stories. They are ALL about life, living, and the people in life. One of his volumes is ASHENDEN: or the British Agent. It is, so far as the English language goes, terrific.  

The greatest error would-be authors make is to try and IMITATE the authors they read. This is wrong. Be yourself. Develop your OWN STYLE. WRITE all the letters you c an and do so as if you were having a PERSONAL CONVERSATION with others. 
A good example of reportorial writing is to be found in the New York Times. They use what is called an encapsulated form. The first paragraph tells you all you need to know about what they write. Who, where, what, why, when and how are, or should be ALL in that first paragraph.
Then too, you need two books at your elbow when writing. One is a good dictionary and the other is a dictionary of synonyms and antonyms. Try not to repeat the same word, but select its synonym where you can. If you don't know the meaning of a word, LOOK IT UP and commit it to memory. BUT READ AND WRITE. The more you do these things, the better you will become. 
As you may have noticed, I always try to reach out, grab the reader by the throat and give him a thorough shaking to get his attention. Once I've got that I am home free. Terry Todd says I am a "natural writer." I don't know since I am never pleased with what I write and have printed. I must have written untold hundreds of articles while working for Weider. In fact, THOUSANDS might be nearer to the truth. But I was never satisfied with a single one.
Where I can, I always try to introduce some small humorous note. For instance, one time I had to write an article about Schemansky. I was looking for some way to describe his absolutely matchless ease of lifting. It was hard. 
At one time I saw him take an old broom handle and do some snatches with it. 
He then loaded up the bar to 290 and did some snatches with that. I could not see a scrap of difference insofar as ease and effort were concerned. So I finally came up with the following to describe Ski's technique:
"After watching the unstudied grace of Schemansky's snatching technique, a certain famous Olympic World Champ tossed away the implements of his sport and took up life anew teaching bull elephants lace making." 
Thus I tried to describe the frustration anyone suffered in watching Ski lift. They just couldn't approach his technique.
______ is now back in his gym and he and his wife are no long on shooting terms. What the domestic situation is I don't know. You remark about how two adult people get into an argument that intense over taking out the garbage. A year or two in law enforcement should enlighten you plenty. I had a murder case come into my office once. Two brothers, aged 12 and 10 got into an argument over a cigarette butt. The older one grabbed it. The younger one asked him for a draw and when he refused his request, stabbed his brother through the heart. Another case I had was where a man strangled his wife and two kids to death because he didn't like the noise they made while he was trying to read the Sunday funnies. 
The beast is just under our skins. Don't kid yourself that man is anything but an animal - a reasoning, educated animal, but still with all the instincts of a beast. I KNOW. In addition to my twenty years in law enforcement I had six combat duty years in the British Navy And, of course, consider the prime example of man's inhumanity to man, look at the Nazi concentration camps and DON'T KID YOURSELF that couldn't happen here. It isn't so long ago since white people were lynching Negroes or burning them alive for some fancied or real slight. 


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