The late, great Dorothy Parker had many strings to her bow. She wrote hundreds of poems and short stories, many of which were published in magazines and books; she was a biting and much-loved book critic for The New Yorker in the late 1920s; in the 1930s, she moved to Hollywood to try her hand at making movies and co-wrote two Academy Award-nominated screenplays; she was also a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, a legendary group of New York City’s brightest and wittiest writers, columnists and comedians who met each day for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan.
She was also human. In June of 1945, whilst suffering from a bout of writer’s block, she sent this dejected telegram to her editor, Pascal Covici.
(This telegram, and many other fascinating pieces of correspondence, can be found in the bestselling book, More Letters of Note.)
1945 JUN 28 PM 4 37
NBQ209 78=NUJ NEWYORK NY 28 422P
PASCAL COVICI.VIKING PRESS=
18 EAST 48 ST=
THIS IS INSTEAD OF TELEPHONING BECAUSE I CANT LOOK YOU IN THE VOICE. I SIMPLY CANNOT GET THAT THING DONE YET NEVER HAVE DONE SUCH HARD NIGHT AND DAY WORK NEVER HAVE SO WANTED ANYTHING TO BE GOOD AND ALL I HAVE IS A PILE OF PAPER COVERED WITH WRONG WORDS. CAN ONLY KEEP AT IT AND HOPE TO HEAVEN TO GET IT DONE. DONT KNOW WHY IT IS SO TERRIBLY DIFFICULT OR I SO TERRIBLY INCOMPETANT=