Thursday, April 1, 2010

From the Writing Trenches: Hugh B. Cave

Pulpster Hugh B. Cave to Carl Jacobi, from a letter written knee-deep in the Great Depression, November 17, 1932:

"This is one of those days that knock a writer's ambitions to hell. Warner Bros., the first of the movie outfits to report on 'Murgunstrumm,' returned it because of the madhouse angle. Then Western Story returned my last attempt after holding it long enough to make me think it was a sure sale -- so sure that I had just finished writing a sequel to it. Then I got one back from Chatelaine which had already been accepted. The Editor was strong for it, but the Editorial Director said no at the last minute. Cosmo returned the one they were holding with this comment: 'This is a fine story, very humorous and well worthy of publication. The trouble is, we positively cannot consider anything until the first of the year.' And Good Housekeeping returned theirs with the following: 'We are genuinely sorry to return this. It is excellently done, and has a very nice appeal. The writing is vivid. It's by far the best you've sent us, we think. However, we can be very choosey these days.'

"Damn the Depression. You plug along day after day, making yourself so damned irritable you can't even get along with the girl friend, and still the disappointments pour in relentlessly. If some kind editor would tell me straight out, 'Cave, as a writer you're a damned good peanut vendor,' I'd go out maybe and buy a peanut wagon. But these blasted 'almosts' keep coming from the best mags in the country."

--from Magazines I Remember by Hugh B. Cave, Tattered Pages Press, 1994