Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu T H
April 5 1941
for your letter and the enclosure: THE SUCCESS, which you say reminds me
of you. The only similarity that I perceive lies in the fact that the guy
was a pulp writer. There the analogy does a complete and pathetic Brody.
I ain't writ any "It Rained Down Fortune"; I ain't goin' to write any,
because I haven't one in me. I used to think that I had, but no more. If
I ever write again, which I doubt, my deathless prose will appear in SHRIEKING
THRILLERS MYSTERY MAGAZINE, unless they reject it, as they probably will,
because as one editor said of a story I submitted under a pen name, it
was too "amateurish"!
My great trouble right now is that I still think I have
to write for the readers, when, as everyone knows, I should write for the
editors. The fact that some umpty-steen million readers like my stories
makes no never mind to the editors. If I don't use Plotto and a correspondence
school formula, my stuff doesn't get by.
From almost any angle, my stuff probably exhales halitosis,
athlete's foot, and B.O., or, as the French so succinctly express it, it
stinks; but so does most of the godawful tripe I occasionally try to wade
through in magazines like Satevepost. I guest the trouble with my stuff
is that it has the wrong bad smell. You know, probably, that we smell bad
to Negroes, just as they do to us. So my stuff smells bad to editors who
can't smell themselves.
I had to smile at the very different reactions that you
and Jack exhibited toward The Racquet Club: most women like it, and I think
that most men do not. Most men do not like to be looked at; most women
do, and The Racquet Club is the place to exhibit one's self down to the
barest essentials - and sometimes even the bare essentials.
You guessed it the first time: I don't know when I am
coming home. I hope Joan's house is not a crumbled ruin before I get a
chance to see it. Maybe I shall have to peek over the edge of my cloud
and look at it, if I can ever lay aside my harp long enough. O, Death,
where is thy sting, when one can lookforward to siting on the edge of a
cold, damp cloud, playing a harp? I am going to stipulate that I be buried
in rubber pants.
I hope that you have been uplifted and inspired by the
delicate nuances of literary expression in this. Yousee, I'm practicing
on you as I prepare to write a "It Rained Down Fortune".
Aloha to all and sundry,