Mister Perkins? You must be Thomas Wolfe. I’d prefer to get my rejections in the mail, but I wanted to meet you. The man who first read Hemingway, …F. Scott Fitzgerald… and said: “Genius.” When every son of a bitch publisher in New York hates my book. Mr. Wolfe, we intend to publish your book. Ha! Max, this is Mrs Bernstein. Mister Perkins. She is the first person that told me my writing was worth anything. People are calling you a genius, god help you. Now, I’m a Scribner’s bestseller. I deserve a little of the high life. Max tells us you’re working on a new book. It’s about America. All of it! I have it. A new book. Bring it in guys! Here you go. We can do it. How long? Nine months, if you resist the temptation to add more. I have to be able to add more. The book is 5000 pages long. Point taken. Alright. Cut, cut, cut. You’ve been working every night for two years. You have any idea how it is to come home to an empty apartment every night? I’ve lost him. To your husband. Your daughters, they want their father back. My job is what I do. Two years, and the book is only a hundred pages shorter. I bring you stuff rich, right from my gut! You wouldn’t do this to Hemingway, to Fitzgerald. Stop it! You of all people are just so damn scared to live There are other ways to live! God help anyone who loves you, Tom because for all your millions of beautiful words, you haven’t the slightest idea of what it means to be alive. Max thinks he created me. He crippled me. He deformed my work. He made all your dreams come true. He gave you a career. Look what you’ve done to me. You hurt me. I can’t turn my back on the work. Make your choice, Tom. Right now. That’s what we editors lose sleep over, you know. Are we really making books better, or just making them different. All my life, until I met you, I never had a friend. You have no idea what I had to go through so I could look at you and feel nothing. A writer like Tom, I get one in a life time. You get your daughters for the same life time. There’s one paragraph I have to add to the book. – My god.
– Have to! You start adding paragraphs, we’re sunk This book is dedicated to Maxwell Everts Perkins. The author hopes this book will prove worthy of it.