Saturday, July 13, 2013


I have always been fascinated by fiction.  In the simplest form it's an elaborate lie told to entertain us; a fish story as it were (Hemingway fans should find this funny).  Some writers are more honest (Hunter S. Thompson comes to mind) and lead daring lives, do crazy things, nearly kill themselves on several occasions, and then write about their adventures.  Other authors create entirely fiction worlds and situations from the comfort of their home and use them to act out fantasy sometimes for their satisfaction as much as ours.  The best authors, like Hemingway, do both of these things to create something not quite fact and not quite fiction but somehow better then both.

Hemingway.  Simply mentioning his name conjures up images of cigar smoke and scotch, romantic European battlefields, safaris to the wildest corners of Africa, and... well, six-toed cats.  Born and raised in the well-to-do Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Hemingway left home for a lifetime of travel while still a teen. He drove an ambulance in WWI. Hung out in Paris with the greatest poets, authors, and artists of the 20s. Worked as a field reporter during the Spanish Civil War. Watched the Normandy Invasion from on deck of a landing craft.  Nearly died in a plane crash while on safari in the Congo (twice). Then went on to write books about all of these events, and not just books but masterpieces that make us ask who and what we are, where and when we should do something about it, and, most importantly, why.

Those familiar with his life may say that Hemingway was a chauvinistic pig who drank too much, loved himself above all others, had weird cats, and then went crazy and unloaded two barrels of buck-shot into his mouth (and they would be right), but set all of that aside and just read The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms, or any of his other worksIf you do I promise you won't be disappointed.  These are some of the greatest books ever written and anyone can identify with the struggle against world and self that all Hemingway stories have in common.

And yes, polydactyl (Hemingway) cats have six toes and look like some kind of science experiment... Google it.

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