Monday, February 27, 2012

on hemingway.

I've loved Ernest Hemingway since the age of twenty-one, lost in a year-long hangover brought on by rowdy Parisian nights. I went to Paris twice when I was twenty, for about four weeks total. In reality, it was not a very long time.

But if you are of a certain misguided, romantic frame of mind (and you'd be hard-pressed to find a twenty-year-old girl who isn't), Paris will steal your heart and your common sense. And it will keep them both as long as it pleases.

The next year was rough. Some of the decisions I'd made at twenty led to heartbreak and anxiety and depression and... well, that was quite enough at the moment.  Floundering and terrified and utterly unsure I was going to survive, I took some (and only some) solace in reading Hemingway.

(The rest of my time was spent sobbing in rhythm with Fiona Apple slow jams, if you were wondering.)

The starkness and simplicity of Hemingway's voice was a welcome antidote to the messiness swirling around my head... As was the notion that any number of problems could be solved by a bit of bravado, a stiff drink, and a strong right hook. It took me a few additional years to realize this was not a viable way of addressing conflict.

When Midnight in Paris came out last year, I was charmed all over again, both by the man and his moveable feast.  Of course, movie Hemingway was mythic Hemingway; the Hemingway of his stories.
Finding out Corey Stoll is actually bald led to minor devastation on my end.
Real life Hemingway wasn't always so clear. He was, at many times, messy and troubled. But he was also brilliant and true. I'm figuring out that life is that way, too.

P.S. A stellar live performance of Bistro Fada, that whimsical waltzy guitar piece that played throughout Midnight:

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