Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


“Papa” Hemingway’s Birthday

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:23 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Today is Ernest “Papa” Hemingway‘s birthday.

He was born in Oak Park, Illinois, which is not far from where I grew up, in 1899. Hemingway snuck off to fight in World War I when he was just 17. He got hurt early in the war, while serving as an ambulance driver, and spent weeks in the hospital before coming back home to his parents in Oak Park.  After his parents got tired of him hanging around, he started writing stories for Chicago newspapers and magazines, and then got a job as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Daily Star and went off to Paris with his wife Hadley. He became friends with a lot of writers who were in Paris at the time, including Fitzgerald and Joyce and Pound and Gertrude Stein. And he wrote every day, sometimes in his apartment, sometimes in cafés, but he wrote every day.  It’s this model of what a writer does, how he works, that I’ve always wanted to emulate.  But, honestly, the blank page has grown far too frightening to do that.

Oddly enough, Hemingway developed cancer and, in fact, grew his famous beard in an attempt to hide some of the scars which were a result.  In the end, he couldn’t live with the idea of cancer, or what it meant to his life and, in true “Hemingway hero” fashion, killed himself with a shotgun in 1961. But, by then, he was one of the most recognizable people on the planet.

Ernest Hemingway has been one of my heroes since I first read his work.  Not his most famous, Old Man and the Sea,  but rather some of his shorter work.  As I recall it was “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” or, possibly, “The Killers”.  That, along with The Snows of Mount Kilimanjaro and The Sun Also Rises were the books and stories that got me.  The funny thing is, I’ve read that he really didn’t care for the Old Man and the Sea, even though that won more awards than anything.
I’ve read more of his work, of course, though certainly not all.  In fact, there was a time I wrote trying to emulate his style.  He’s also where I learned that the most beautiful art is that which seems so simple, so obvious that one thinks it must be easy to create, but then finds the execution of such art much harder to accomplish after all.

So, if you’re the drinking kind, raise your glass, whether that’s a daiquiri, absinthe, a martini, or a mojito, which are all said to have been his “favorite” drink at various times, and toast to Papa and all he wrote.

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