The Correspondence of, and to, Charles Hoy Fort

Fort to Dreiser

31 March 1916

New York, March 31, 1916.

My dear Dreiser:

Here's a suggestion for a short story for you. I'd write it myself, only I haven't brains enough to do anything that I'm not ogenetically compelled to do:

There's the very dooc of a big, successful novelist. He's thinking over the problem of the conservation of energy, in its psychic aspect. He can always sell his stuff; he's "arrived"; he's even got to where he's abused simultaneously. Altogether, he decides that for every gain there is not an equal and nullifying loss.

He has gained, because, though there are some unpleasantnesses, he has the rewards of literature, but has none of the pangs and rebuffs of early authorship--

But this is defiance of cosmic law--already the great god Equalization has marked him out from afar--

He knows a poor and fat, but noble and lofty poet, we'll say, or some of those things. He undertakes to land that dam thing's stuff for him--

Heretofore the great god Equalization has plotted and assailed in vain--But now here's his opportunity. Even though the great god has not the power to pull back the very dooc of a novelist, that is, pull him back actually, the whole thing's done vicariously;


with his super-cunning, Equalization makes the successful novelist suffer the rebuffs of unsuccessful authorship any way--

And the whole moral is that you're crazy to try to get anywhere, because even if the great god Equalization can't get you one way, he'll get you some other way.

So Charles Fort has written a--whatever it is--that Theodore Dreiser shall be equalized. So I now predict that you never will be able to have your vicarious work of "X" published. But whatever is, also isn't; and this is how that will work out:

"Y" is so much more interesting than "X" that "Y" will carry "X" along with it. It's too bad, and it does make me sore that I should have to suffer just to have you equalized, but I think that that phase is now over. I think that a publisher who would not take "X" will take "X" and "Y."

Here's "Y"--or it will be sent by express. It's in the state that "X" was in when first you read "X": that is, the "decorations" haven't been put in yet; and there are several motifs that do not co-ordinate so well as they will later; also I expect to cut out about seventy five pages and add fifty.

Don't try to do anything with "Y", and bring more equalization upon yourself; it isn't ready yet. I'd simply be glad to know what you think of it. For "X" you gave me at least six good suggestions.

Brace up. This is only the beginning. The gods have appointed me, in this life, which is hell, to punish you for something awful that you once did, perhaps in Jupiter or Neptune--"Z" hasn't yet even been heard from. You have at least one thing to be thankful for--I might have begun with "A."

Charles Fort

Sic: dooce, deuce. Return to the text.

Courtesy of the Theodore Dreiser Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania.

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