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Showing posts from July, 2012

Ernest Hemingway Fights Germans, adopts a Dog and a Cat, and Helps Michael Arlen, late 1930s and '40s

Ernest Hemingway put down the volume of Zane Grey he'd been reading. Well, in truth, he hadn't really been reading it, just turning the pages. His mind had been back in New York in 1937, and Max Perkins's office, and his acute feelings for Martha Gellhorn, and the huge need he had to get into Spain and discover the sort of mess the country was in since his last visit. What a pompous bastard he'd been to think he could go as an anti-war correspondent. Who the hell did he think he was? He'd spent far too much time pretending to be some kind of bleeding heart liberal, writing for such dead-beat magazines as, The New Masses, and thinking himself some sort of latter day John Reed. But he'd done nothing to help the poor and the homeless, and the out of work, except on a very personal level in Key West, where he helped many locals with hand-outs, but most of that he realised was probably spent on booze. Unlike Martha, and Leo Huberman before her, he'd not even tra…

Ernest Hemingway starts Islands in The Stream and Invites Buck Lanham and his Wife to Cuba, 1945

All Ernest Hemingway can see and hear is the death and destruction of the war. But he's looking at it as if it were a film, seeing himself as if from the back row of an empty cinema, and the film looks like one of those documentaries. He sees himself looking at the camera and smiling, but it's not really the camera he's looking at, no, Hemingway is looking at himself. And for a brief moment Hemingway knows, one day, he's going to shoot himself.
And with that thought Hemingway starts to cry, but there's no one to hear or see him. With Mary still away he's given the staff the day off. He pours himself a drink, not a big one, just a taster. He feels better as he climbs the stairs of the tower that overlooks the Finca, opens his writing book, takes a pencil from an old tin full of pencils, and writes:
Islands in the Stream. A novel
And for three hours without a break Hemingway leans on his sloping writing board and scribbles away with pencil after pencil until he has…