Monday, February 11, 2013

A Heart for Hemingway

I have been mulling over words in my head trying to choose the right ones to help you understand the journey I found myself on with Hemingway. I'm still not sure I can say what I mean, but I'm going to try. I don't mean to go on and on about the author because if you've read him, you know. If you haven't read him, you should. I will tell you, though, I have to read him in small doses. He gets to me, gets in my thoughts, and stays there awhile.

Hemingway writes clearly and concisely about humanity,...about what makes us who we are. He writes about our bravest, best moments...and our weakest, not-so-great moments. He had this fabulous gift of selecting just the right words, and he could take a moment - a simple, ordinary moment - slow it down and make you see it for what it really was: ugly or beautiful, painful or healing, a truth or a lie. He does it in a way that strikes my heart to the core. At times, he does it with a sense of humor. Other times, he uses sarcasm (one of my favorites) and irony. Too often, for my heart, his candor is tinged with a sadness that is palpable. His words may seem simple, but they are profound.

I think about The Old Man and the Sea from time to time. Have you read it? I read it after The Sun Also Rises. Hard to believe, as much as I read, I had gotten this far in life without reading that book. It's a life lesson, you know. Actually, it's many lessons - the whole book. It is an analogy for so many things (including how Hemingway felt about his own life) and, yet, it's also a simple story about an old man, a boy, a boat, and a fish.

Hemingway was, in my opinion, an incredibly gifted man who didn't quite know how to handle his gift on a personal level. He let his mind go to places that some people have no idea even exists. For others, who know it exists, they choose to keep their minds within the borders where they feel safe. They know better than to go too far down a dark path. I wish Hemingway had known how to find his way out of the darkest paths of his mind. I don't think he ever intended to stay there.

"All I must do now was stay sound and good in my head until morning when I would start to work again. In those days we never thought that any of that could be difficult." ~ The Moveable Feast

When I finally read The Moveable Feast, it made my heart ache. I knew it would. It was why I put it off for so long, even though I wanted to read it. To read a man's words about his own life, reading the last things he wrote, and hearing the regret and pain in those words is very difficult for me and makes me feel very tender towards Hemingway. When I read his words, I want to tell him that I understand. I want to let him know that sometimes we all feel the way he felt, even though we're often too afraid to feel. Most of all, I wish I could thank him for his words, for sharing his gift with the rest of us.

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." ~ The Moveable Feast

We'll always have Paris, Tatie...

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