Remembering Ernest Hemingway
Posted On July 19, 2016
If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know I have an undying respect for the author Ernest Hemingway. He is the inspiration for my writing. Even after all these years, I remember sitting in fourth period English class reading “For Whom The Bell Tolls.”
I had been captured by the simple, yet forceful words Hemingway had put on paper. I remember crying at the end of the story. I so wanted Robert Jorden to live. I have reread the book several times, and only now, am I starting to recognize the depth of the story. At fourteen, I only saw Jordan for what he was, an American mercenary. Now, I see him closer to what Hemingway saw and the reason Hemingway killed Jordan, it’s not just a man who dies, the death is symbolic of the part of society that dies due to war. Hemingway is telling us that war kills the best part of us and in the story; the best part was named Jordan.
Hemingway was a blue-collar writer. He grew up in a suburb of Chicago, did not attend college, and after high school worked for six months as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star newspaper. At eighteen, with the start of World War 1, he enlisted with the Red Cross to become an ambulance driver on the Italian front. He was there for two months but had to be evacuated when an artillery shell exploded and nearly cost him his leg. After convalescing, he moved to Toronto and continued to work as a newspaper reporter.
In addition to his war experiences in WWI, Hemingway also worked as a correspondent during both the Spanish Civil War and WWII. He landed with the First Infantry Division on Omaha Beach.
Ernest Hemingway claimed he used the same standard in his writing throughout his career and that standard was the editing points of the Kansas City Star, his first newspaper job:
“Use short sentences. Use short paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative.”
He wrote by that creed.
Maybe I like Hemingway because I too am from Idaho. Maybe I like him because like him, I had the audacity to sit down at a keyboard and write. I like his simple and straightforward approach to his craft and his life.
I agree with him when he said, “Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.”
Sadly, the world lost “Papa” too soon. He was but 61 when he used his favorite bird hunting gun to end his life.
Happy birthday Ernest Hemingway.
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