Article by Wendy McCance
I have a special fondness for books by Ernest Hemingway. Recently I went to the bookstore and found this wonderful copy of Ernest Hemingway’s book, A Moveable Feast.
What makes this book so special is that it is a restored edition. In the book, there is a personal foreword by Ernest Hemingway’s son, Patrick and an introduction by his grandson, Sean. There are a number of unpublished revealing experiences Hemingway had that are in this book and unbelievably, original hand written manuscripts as the author had intended to have published. It makes for a great read when you can get a peek into Hemingway’s life.
If you aren’t familiar with A Moveable Feast, the story is about Hemingway’s early years in Paris as a struggling writer. At the time he was incredibly poor, driven by his writing and surrounded by the most amazing group of people.
It’s hard to imagine that he was hanging out with the most famous people as they were all just getting started out in their own careers. Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Joan Miro are just a few of the names thrown around in the book.
As a writer myself, I have a certain fascination with other writers beginnings. I want to know how they might have struggled, how they felt about their work and what drove them to continue on, especially when they were barely making ends meet.
There are so many moments in the book where Hemingway makes a statement that rings so true with me. One of the first moments where I felt a kinship to Hemingway was when he was describing being poor, his writing career and how it affected those closest to him. He said that the one who is doing what they love gets immense satisfaction from so much so that they don’t feel the poverty. It is the family (in this case, his wife) who feels the poverty and suffers.
When I decided to write full-time, I did so because it was something I was so passionate about that I couldn’t not write. It was a happy, obsessive draw that I couldn’t peel myself away from. Because of my fibromyalgia, there weren’t really other options for a career so it was a beautiful fit. Even so, my family suffered from a lack of two strong incomes. My husband carried the load without complaint and the kids accepted the situation. Thankfully, enough time has passed that we don’t struggle like we once did. The guilt I have carried has been enormous though. It was my decisions that affected the family even if fibromyalgia played a role, it was still my choices that lead us down that path. My guilt had been heightened because I didn’t feel the strain. I was in a place of pure happiness to be able to do what I love.
Another moment of clarity happened when I read that Hemingway felt that the best days were those where there were no problems except where to be happiest. The words that hit me the hardest was when he said that the only thing that would spoil a day was people. If you could keep from making appointments, each day had no limits. People were the limiters of happiness.
Maybe it sounds like a horrible thing to think, especially if you are a very social person. I love my alone time I think, a little too much. I want to create and explore and challenge my mind. I want my thoughts to flow free and unencumbered from the people in my presence. I felt a special tie to Hemingway when I realized that there was someone else out there that felt the same way.
I am now half-way through the book and will only read a little each night before bed. I am in love with this book and don’t want it to end.
If you are looking for a good summer read, I highly recommend A Moveable Feast. It’s simply wonderful.
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