so the money thing… it’s not just a rumour??

Advertisement for the Palmer Institute of Authorship, from which a “free typical lesson package and book: The Art of Writing Salable Stories”, can be requested by mailing coupon to: 1680 N. Sycamore, Desk GD-16, Hollywood, CA.
~as seen in Astrology Guide, Vol 19, No 1, Jan-Feb 1956

Now then, should there be even the slightest doubt about the validity of writing programs offered in the front pages of astrology magazines… please consider a testimonial from J.G. Doar, whoever he may be: “After completing only the first few lessons I felt I knew what a short story is. My success will not affect my study of the Palmer Course.”

If that isn’t enough to convince the cynics, there are other devotees—equally giddy, confident and obscure in their success. (A.B. Aretz anyone?)

Had the Palmer folks been really smart or, better yet, prescient, they’d have asked for a few words from a young Raymond Carver who was among those that sent away for the package— and also came to know what a short story is. More or less.

(Though they did get one from A.E. Van Vogt, who claimed the Palmer course was a milestone in his career, after which his entire income, he said, was made through writing.)

[Incidentally, the man in the photograph above the caption: “Famous Author Praises Palmer” is Howard Hughes’ brother, Rupert Hughes.]

Interesting times.

4 thoughts on “so the money thing… it’s not just a rumour??

  1. There was a time when all F. Scott Fitzgerald had to do was knock off a quick short story, send it to the New Yorker or Esquire and they would wire $1000 to the American Express in Paris for him to pick up, which kept him and Zelda in champers and escargots for who knows how long.

    I also remember reading in the introduction to Welcome To The Monkey House (Kurt Vonnegut’s short story collection) that the stories were written when he found himself in need of some cash.

    Now it’s us paying entry fees to writing competitions that we have no hope in winning.

    But I do love your post. Reminds me of those learning to draw ads, which in turn reminds me of a terrific story by J. D. Salinger called De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period, about a young artist who moves to Montreal to become an instructor for a correspondence art course.

    1. I sometimes think I was born a generation too late.

      You’ve conjured up some great images, not the least of which is champers and snails.

      Now I have to find the Salinger story…

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