Aug 25·edited Aug 25Liked by Ann Kjellberg

O Ernest.

I believe as I guess many others that a lot of the pain of Hemingway's life began in his family with his relationships with his parents. His father of course also committed suicide.

Too bad someone could not have wrested the guns away from him. I suppose then he would have had to shoot them.

It's pretty awful and there's a lot to be extremely upset not to mention disgusted about.

Some of his stories and other works are, not to exaggerate I don't think, holy. They are cleansing. Would I trade them all for the life of one lion or elephant? As a matter of fact it seems that yes, I actually would. I don't say that without some small hesitation. But what right did he have, etc.? None, as far as I can see.

Conveniently, luckily perhaps, it doesn't work that way so we remain uncomfortably with Hemingway the deeply flawed as they say human vs Hemingway the divine writer, or rather the two of them in one, inextricable as twins. When you say machine gun I do think, typewriter.

Side note: As a young man who grew up in cold colorless post-war England my dad made many visits (driving) to warm and sunny Francoist Spain and once came back from a trip only to realize, after seeing a newspaper article in London, that he had just attended the same bullfight as Hemingway.

Dad still has some slide images of this fight and somewhere in the crowd must be Ernest.

Dad is no lover of gore and violence, the opposite in fact. I'm surprised he even went. I guess as a 20 something he wanted to experience it for himself.

Ernest though, more than twice as old as Dad then, must have seen a great pageant of do or die unfold before his eyes, one that might have confirmed his view of the world, as well as his self-image.

Expand full comment
Aug 25Liked by Ann Kjellberg

I like the way you put that, Ann, internal cleavages.

I agree the houses are very ghostly and a great way to sort of organize the chaos and though they can't say anything themselves they are evocative in other ways.

Expand full comment

Pleasurable read throughout and nicely built on the houses. Interesting about Gloria acting our her father's blood lust times over.

I remember as a teenager seeing the headline "Hemingway Dead --- Shotgun Blast" on a spindly train station newspaper stand on a day trip to San Francisco. I didn't quite know what a novel was, only that novelists had a strange kind of secular prestige. Some people will be very upset at this was my main thought.

Dorothy Baker who lived in the town one over from us talked about what an influence he had been on her generation: "I mean, I could feel that I wished I'd latched onto this simplicity instead of 'Old Hem.' And this is very sad because it at once opened a door for me as a writer – I could see that writing was possible – yet closed it, because you can't just go on imitating Hemingway you know."

Also there's a curious picture of Hemingway in his Havana house in a Vogue magazine of November 15, 1950 (available through Proquest). Hemingway is sitting bare-chested on a sofa, drink in hand across from a well-outfitted model, dressed as in another opera, who is holding something, a toque?, away from him.

Expand full comment