Many people have wondered how and when the no-SASE myth began. Well, today I cracked the mystery! As frequently happens with great discoveries, I stumbled upon this one unawares. In my current state of painful inactivity, I've been avoiding all news except of the book biz--and have cut way back even on that--instead only reading novels and memoirs. (No creepy or violent movies, either. Hence I turned off "Pulp Fiction" midway through & switched to "The Fabulous Baker Boys.")
So this morning I started reading the very entertaining 2000 memoir I'D HATE MYSELF IN THE MORNING by the late Ring Lardner Jr. ("M*A*S*H"), the last surviving member of the HUAC "Hollywood Ten," with a sobering introduction by Victor Navasky. And look what I found:
In 1924, when F. Scott Fitzgerald sold Max Perkins of Charles Scribner's Sons on the idea of a collection of Ring Lardner short stories, Dad... accepted Scott's title, How to Write Short Stories. Instead of a serious introduction, though, he wrote: "A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor. Personally I have found it a good scheme to not even sign my name to the story, and when I have got it sealed up in its envelope and stamped and addressed, I take it to some town where I don't live and mail it from there. The editor has no idea who wrote the story, so how can he send it back? He is in a quandary."