Friday, January 18, 2008

In honor of Ed Hoch

Evergreen. That's how some people's creativity seems to me. They're the ones who can't seem to help themselves from producing painting after painting, or song after song, or story after story. It just keeps pouring out of them. If they go through the dead times of creative winters, it is not visible. They truly seem born to do what they do, whether that's sculpt clay or write poems. Mr. Edward D. Hoch, who died suddenly this week at the age of 77, was one of those extraordinarily-gifted people. How extraordinary was he? He had a short story in every issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine for almost thirty-five years. In his legendary career he wrote close to 1,000 short stories. Among the many tributes being penned to him now, I read of one novelist who said that Ed may have been "the only real writer I ever met." I understand that to mean that Ed was "real" in the way that trees are real, and rivers, and stones. All of those things can only be exactly what they are, and Ed Hoch could only be a writer. A great and tireless pen has finally come to rest.

Photo by Andif


Nancy P said...

Isn't that a simply incredible writing career? I had met him, but can't claim to have known him. He did have many, many friends and admirers in the mystery community, where he was known as a very nice man and where he was held in great esteem.

FARfetched said...

Wow, that's impressive.

Funny about the timing, though. This morning, I got to thinking that, at The Boy's age, if I'd had the single-minded dedication to writing that he has to his music, I might be working on my 17th novel now. Or (who knows?) 1000th short story.

Eh. I'll accomplish what I can from now, though.

Nancy P said...

That *is* funny timing, far.
Hard to imagine how you could write more than you do now, esp. given that you have an actual job, not to mention a family, etc.

Okay, I'm off to bed.
See you creative types in la manana.

Kimberly Frost said...

Every issue for 35 years? That is amazing. I always have tons of ideas, but the concept of fashioning each one into a coherent and entertaining story on a weekly basis is mind-boggling to me. Maybe because I've only ever written novels up to this point.

With regard to the novelist who said Mr. Hoch was the only "real writer" he ever met, I am intrigued by that statement. Since he was himself a novelist, one can only assume that he was hinting that he believed the rest of us exist in a Matrix-like world in the mind of Mr. Hoch. (Mr. Hoch being real and the rest of us being virtual.) Since we are still here blogging, it's possible that rumors of Mr. Hoch's death have been greatly exaggerated.

AndiF said...

I don't have anything useful to say about Mr. Hock but this picture seems to be a fitting one to honor his memory.

Good (and very cold) morning all.

Beth said...

VERY cool pic, andi. Good morning to you and Kimber - at least K can fix you after she beat you up today.

My mom wasn't a reader like my dad and sister and I were, but she did read Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen before bed. So I'm sure she read some of his work. Thanks for sharing this story, Nancy. One could only hope, huh?

Speaking of writing - back to lurking. Happy Saturday, everyone!

Family Man said...

Good morning Nancy and everyone!

I'm sorry for Mr. Hoch's passing, but I'm about to burst to say this....


Big fat flakes that look like they want to stick, but the ground won't let them.

Gotta go and stand out in the snow.

boran2 said...

That is an amazing record, Nancy.

FM, Enjoy your snow!

FARfetched said...

Wow, Andi. That's a pic that almost needs to be B&W for best effect.

Twirling, twisting…
Ice beads on a flower vine?
Or an Ent's necklace?

FM - get pictures! Our snow hasn't started yet.

katiebird said...

Andi, I love the front-page photo. But, I really like your special photo in honor of Mr Hoch.

Good Morning! Happy 2nd No-Earache day to me!

And happy 2.3 degrees day to Nancy.

And Happy Snow-day to FamilyMan (and FAR?)

And Waving-Madly at Kimberly & Beth & Boran:

It's great to see everyone! It seems like forever since I've posted publicly.

Mr. Hoch must have seen short stories everywhere he looked. I wonder if he got his start on that 35 years with a 'spurt' -- maybe writing 5 short stories in one month? Nah, no one could do that!

Nancy P said...

KG, lol! I spurt, he flowed.
So happy you're weller.

Family Man! You're so cute when you're seeing snow. I'm thrilled for you. The only way I could be happier is if I don't see a single additional snowflake, myself.

Andi, wow, gorgeous photo. I imagine each one of those ice beads as a Hoch short story, along a long long limb. See? You did, too, have something interesting to say.

katiebird said...

Hi Nancy! Guess what? It's almost 4 degrees outside already. Do you know where your swimsuit is? Looks like we'll need it.

Nancy P said...

Kimberly, that's a great theory! :)

Far, that's true, about the b&w.

Beth, how *is* the writing going?

Boran2, I'm off to see your Saturday Painting Palooza now.

OLIVIA!!! That's for you in case you appear here this morning. I hope you're feeling lots better.

Beth said...

Boy, I'm SO glad you're enjoying the snow, fam. And I'm SO sorry it's so freakin' cold out, Nancy and kb. I am more than content with 68 and vewwy foggy.

I'm hoping to have the second draft finished by Thursday, Nancy. Although I keep thinking of things to add. I wanted to be done by the end of the month. Then a break to rewrite my first book for a month, then the third draft of this one in March. So I'm pushing really hard this week. I was up til 1:30 working on my pitch - what IS this story about, anyway??

And the ghostwriting project is coming together - waiting for a signed contract to show up.

Nothing in print for the magazine except business cards, but I'm still hopeful. :-)

So it's going well! Thanks for asking! Should I ask how yours is going...?

Beth said...

And I hope your earache is gone for good, kb!! And O is better, and everyone else is healthy, and toasty, and planning a fun weekend.

FARfetched said...

Yes, KB, it's snowing here now too. It started while I was splitting firewood & moving it to the house, and it started sticking soon after I finished. You're sounding a little better, is that earache finally going away?

Nancy: I spurt, he flowed.
Looking at the ceiling, whistling at random, attempting to look innocent…

Chicken House Duty Has Been Cancelled. Off to do a little editing & maybe some original stuff.

Oh… Beth, I can relate to wanting to add stuff. My limited forays into novels suggest that it's soooo easy to get caught up in tweaking and fiddling. There's only so much of that you can do in a short story.

Family Man said...

It's hard to believe, but it's still snowing here. It has been snowing for about 4 hours.

KB I was watching the news this morning and I thought of you when I saw the ticker saying "All Birmingham libraries are closed." We've got more snow here than B'ham does and the roads are fine, but down here the mention of snow will close everything.

Kelly McCullough said...

Here's to another grand storyteller who's no longer among us. (raises a drink)

Up to 4 below here now on the way to 0.

maryb said...

FM has snow? Has hell frozen over? Enjoy and DON'T shovel.

Nice tribute Nancy. I'm always amazed by people who can constantly create. And I like both AndiF pictures today.

Yes, I am as cold as Nancy and kb to the west of me and AndiF to the east of me. It's frustrating because the sky is bright blue and it's enticing to go outside but it's bitterly cold. So I think I will stay in.

In honor of MLK's birthday I've got Eyes on the Prize on in the background as I dust. I taped it when the restored version was played on PBS a year or so ago.

Hi everyone - I won't list you all. Have a good morning.

katiebird said...

I'm enjoying the conversation through the email link as I do my dusting (which is code for Reading the new Dean Koontz novel)

We're up to 11 degrees (showing off) & it's VERY sunny here too.

I love not having to leave the house.

FARfetched said...

11 degrees! Will the bikinis be coming out of the drawer?

katiebird said...

Not bikinis, but mister's wearing shorts. I'm still too much of a California Girl -- we got our winter clothes out at 60 degrees. And I still do.

maryb said...

We're up to 13 degrees - but we ARE south of you kb. It's only supposed to get to 19 today.

I'm finished dusting and I ran the dishwasher (always SUCH a chore, lol). FM' genealogy story the other day has motivated me and I'm getting everything out to work on mine. Actually, my dad does most of the work but I told him a couple of years ago that we should write it up in narrative form and bind it and give it to his family. He's a retired math teacher and told me that he's happy to provide any numbers but creating the narrative is up to me. So I think I'll work on that on this cold, cold day.

katiebird said...

That sounds fun, Mary. I've got a project going with my dad too.

Conda said...

What always amazed me about Ed Hoch's short stories--every one of them that I read (and I've read many, mystery short stories are favorites) was sooo good. Not only flow, but great flow.

Glad some people enjoy snow, family man (& far?). I like to walk and look at it--not drive or shovel. I'm glad no earache katiebird. And hi everyone.

AndiF said...

Afternoon all. I've just noticed that I fat-fingered Ed Hoch's name. My apologies to his ghost.

The Pack and I just back from going for a walk (14 degrees) and I have just finished counting my fingers and toes -- whew, all there; I could have sworn that at least one or two of them froze off.

maryb said...

Well, I don't know how any of you work from home. I got nothing done on my project this afternoon because I paid attention to Nevada.

And I don't know if it ever got up to 19 today.

But tomorrow is supposed to be a heat wave - 25. Woo hoo!

katiebird said...

Ah, Ebay in winter....
I just put in a bid for 40 razor blades.

Nancy P said...

40 razor blades?
Katiebird, the Demon Barber of Overland Park.

katiebird said...

It's goofy -- I keep staring at the cost of blades at the drug store and then deciding that I can make the ones I've got last a while longer.

Then I remembered that you can buy anything on eBay & this one auction started at $5.00 for 40 -- so I put in a bid.

They cost closer to $2.00 a piece in the store. I might give up shaving if it comes to that.

Demon Barber -- I like that. It's tougher than Birdie.

Nancy P said...

Hi, Maryb, Conda, and boran2. I hope I didn't miss anybody. I've been in and out today, so I haven't been able to chat much. :(

katiebird, do you want to be last and first again? I'm just about to put up tomorrow's. post.

katiebird said...

No, I don't think so. Not tonight. :)