A long time ago, The Parents took me to Key West and we walked through Hemingway's house. At the bottom of the stairs, there's a framed photo and I stood there for a few seconds and picked out the famous faces. They were the faces of the Lost Generation - one of the most fabulous groups of people I ever get to talk about in class.
Hemingway was a ballbuster. "Friends" with Picasso, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and James Joyce, he would sit in Paris at a table and write like a champion, drink like a champion, and smoke like a champion as he became one of the greatest of all time. He was rugged, a veteran of war and women, and a big game hunter. He was an adventure seeker, and alcoholic, and a plane crash survivor.
And he was also a one sentence writing beast.
I think about this a lot - write hard and clear about what hurts. Hard. Clear. That was his mantra. He once famously asked if Faulkner thought big emotions came from big words. [Can we just pause and reflect? He was in a sparring match with Faulkner.] Simple was better for him. Write about what you know. Write about how you feel. Be direct.
I can't tell you how many times I've been sitting on my cold living room floor, my notes and scribbles surrounding me - staring straight at my computer screen ... lost in a boulder of writer's block. Those words have washed over me so many times - write hard and clear. Write what you know. Write about what hurts. Write about what you know.
All you have to do is write one sentence. Write the truest sentence you know. - EH
Change is coming.
That's the biggest and truest and hardest and clearest and most direct sentence I know.
It's coming straight at me like a hurricane.
And dang if change isn't just a little bit hard. Even if you have a real vision of where you want to be after the smoke clears ... it's tough. However. One small step in the right direction every day is worth more to me than any day (or years) full of indecision. So all the change? All of the unanswered questions? All of the looming, anxious filled days? Worth it.
Hemingway's story is not a happy one. Divorce ... a lot. Infidelity ... a lot. Alcohol ... a lot. But the man lived. He used to say that there was not a day he woke up in Africa and thought he was in the wrong place. Not a day where he felt like he should be doing something else. Not a day that he woke up and regretted his choices. And that's pretty true perfection, don't you think? To know that a man like him screwed everything up so many times - made so many wrong choices ... but still. STILL woke up and lived every single day on his own terms.
When the dust settles, and when my changed days turn into quiet, bright passing days of rightness ... I won't have regretted my choices, either. And it'll all have been on my terms.
One of my dad's favorite books is The Old Man in the Sea. I bought him a copy for Christmas one year and read it before I wrapped it. He almost didn't get it. I almost kept it for myself. There's a line - a true line of brilliance - right in the middle. "We're all broken inside," he writes. "But that's how the light gets in."
And I'm a girl that loves a little sparkling light.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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