Carnivore Dreams – Hemingway again

Young Hemingway & His Enduring Eden - The Bay Theatre

I like the young photos of him.

When he still had his illusions.

I have a special place in my heart for him because in highschool, we were given an assignment to copy him and the teacher read mine to the class. I was so embarrassed I had to leave because I was in love with a boy who happened to be in that English class.

Tonight was the first of a 3-part series on him. My sister-in-law told me about it. It was wonderful and I’m looking forward to the next two nights. His simple declarative sentences were nice, but I liked his repetition and rhythm. Most of all, I loved his symbolism and his use of objective correlative–setting to represent feeling rather than describing emotions which can be sentimenal and if not sentimental are always inadequate. And I loved his Iceberg theory–what you leave out of a story is equally as important as what you put in (if not more). The latter was the most important lesson I learned for my own writing. In that sense, he was a very cerebral writer. I taught “Hills Like White Elephants” to my Composition classes when I was an adjunct professor. The students loved him.

Jealous people denigrate Hemingway, say he was a chauvinist and his writing was overly simple. (Are you kidding?) Anyone who studied Hemingway knows he was interested in gender roles, even flipping them in Garden of Eden — and what in the world do people think he was doing showing how awful the man was to push Jig to have an abortion in “White HIlls?”

So many idiots.

Hemingway changed contemorary writing forever.

We went to Key West many years ago and went through his house there, with the hundred(s) of six toed cats. I loved it.

There were so many things I loved about the first part of the series. A few things I’d forgotten as I’d read biographies of him and his women. I didn’t know he’d been “ashamed” of his father for committing suicide. I didn’t know or remember how many concussions he’d had — three — which makes mental problems worse–as well as causing Alzheimers or early death. One in the war and one in a plane as I recall maybe in Africa. Forget the other. Howard Hughes’s strangeness likely exacerbated by the same thing.

I didn’t remember that he’d written a friend when he’d been jilted by his first lover Agnes and told him how crushed he was–certainly not a “male” thing to do–to confide with such detailed pain how devastated he was.

I want to wait to write about all of my impressions. (Interesting Jeff Daniels does his voice). But I wonder how many people noticed what I think might have been the most telling line of all:

“It’s better to be a great man than a great writer–I’ve failed at both.”

Ernest Hemingway

2 thoughts on “Carnivore Dreams – Hemingway again

  1. Hemingway was, and is, my inspiration to write. He wrote as people speak and think, not simple, or sparse, but realistic. He knew all the $5 words but preferred to use the .25 ones that made sense, and most of today’s faux authors should learn that lesson.

  2. Well, as he says, I’m not sure he was successful as a person, but he changed literature forever. And his work is fascinating. I don’t write as sparely as he does, but I use some rhythm and I leave plenty between the lines. He’s a great writer. Did you watch the PBS special? Two more nights and I’m sure you can sign up with them to watch the whole thing. It promises to be worth it.

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