Winner of the Key West contest to write at the Key West Home

key west

key west

A few posts ago, I noted the contest for the opportunity to write in Hemingway’s Key West Home. Well we have a winner. See below link.

And PLEASE COMMENT ON THE TRIVIA POST. Two Hemingway Cookbooks are at stake!  Try to win it.

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) – An Irish author has won a 10-day writing stint in Ernest Hemingway’s former Key West study in Florida

EH 8124P Ernest Hemingway fishing, Key West, 1928. Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

EH 8124P Ernest Hemingway fishing, Key West, 1928.
Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Some Hemingway Trivia

  1. Until Hemingway was four, his mother dressed him up like a girl to match his sister who was about year younger than he was. His hair was kept long as well.the family

    young Ernie fishing

    young Ernie fishing


  1. He hated the name “Ernest.”


  1. In World War I, he was denied entering the military due to very poor eyesight. He was only 17 at the time. He convinced the military to let him in as an ambulance driver.


  1. Hemingway once said of Fitzgerald that, “Scott thought that the rich are different from “you and me.” Hemingway felt they just had more money.


  1. Hemingway had a favorite hamburger recipe that has about 10 ingredients. I tried it once and didn’t find it worth all of those ingredients, which include garlic, green onion, India relish, capers, sage, Spice Island’s Beau Mond Seasoning, Spice Island’s Mairen Powder, one egg beaten, dry red or white wine, one tablespoon of cooking oil. He also had a notation noting soy sauce and tomato could be added at the end.


  1. Hemingway often wrote standing up. He liked it, but after the plane crashes in 1954, it hurt his back less to stand.

    Standing and Writing

    Hem Standing


  1. Hemingway was married four times and was married to his fourth wife at the time of his death, Mary Welsh Hemingway. Hadley, his first wife, remained a good friend and preferred to be referred to as Mrs. Paul Mowrer as opposed to Hadley Hemingway. Martha Gellhorn, his third wife, never liked being referred to as his third wife and required that interviews not mention him.

    Hem and Hadley

    Hem and Hadley


  1. Hemingway survived exposure to anthrax, malaria, skin cancer, and pneumonia. He lived with diabetes, two plane crashes, a ruptured kidney, hepatitis, a ruptured spleen, a fracture skull, a crushed vertebrae. As we all know, it was his own hand that ultimately did him in.


  1. For five years his wife Mary insisted that his death was accidental as opposed to a suicide.

    Mary and Hem

    Mary and Hem


  1. Hemingway felt strongly that it was bad luck to talk about how he wrote and the writing process.


  1. Hemingway initially began to wear a beard due to a skin condition that made it painful to shave daily.


Hem relaxed--with the beard

Hem relaxed–with the beard

Give Away: Hemingway Cookbook

Okay! THE COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! The first comment on the next blog post will be  the winner of the Hemingway cookbook. If you are that one, I’ll announce that here and ask that you provide your email address and I’ll get your mailing address when I email you. Seriously, the cookbook is hard to get .  It has anecdotes and great stuff in it! The trout is fantastic.

Thank you for reading. Love, Christine

Hem relaxed--with the beard

Hem relaxed–with the beard

Hello Papaphiles!


Working at the Finca

Working at the Finca

HemHello Hemingway readers and fans!  Every four months, I post my opening post for those just joining in. For those who stop in regularly, I sincerely and truly thank you for reading and for being interested in Hemingway 55 years after his death and 117 years after his birth. So here is my opening post to acclimate you to what will be happening here.

  Love and thank you, Christine


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Ernest Hemingway

What Will Be Happening Here? 

This will be a place to talk Hemingway and any topics related to him and his life.  That gives us a lot of material: writing, Paris, divorce, relationships, Key West, Cuba, Idaho, fishing, boats, bulls, boxing, cats, horses, dogs, the Midwest, movies, other writers.  Anything else?  Oh right, drinking, awards, depression, friends, cruelty, generosity.  Heard enough? Well, there’s still politics, women, religion, Fidel Castro, Gary Cooper, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Africa. Done yet?  Uh, no. we’ve still got mothers, hair, sexual ambiguity, sons, daughters, actresses, sex, suicide, death, clothes, honor, hygiene, the IRS, psychiatrists.

And what would Papa say about a blog?  Hmm, well, if I wanted to pull a page from Woody Allen, I’d say that he’d say: No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure. He was a journalist first and foremost and he kept up with the times so I think he’d be amused.

Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen

Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen

So what qualifies me to write this blog?  Not too much that’s going to impress you. All I can say is that I love him, just as he was, flawed and fabulous, mean-spirited bully and most gracious of men, driven wordsmith and drunken raconteur, bigot and egalitarian, all of it.  I’m no scholar. I’ll leave that to Timeless Hemingway,, which does a superb job and is an unparalleled resource. However, I’ve read them all many times: the books, the short stories, the analyses, the biographies, the women, even the Hemingway cookbook which I actually cook from (the trout is delicious). I’m just an obsessed fan, uncluttered by the need to be neutral.  I hope to learn from you too.

Finally, I find him fascinating, complex, and yes, manly but I think he actually “got” quite a bit about women contrary to popular myth. That’s a topic for another day. Also a topic for another day is why the mask above on the lovely woman. Also a topic for another day is what do we call him in this blog?  Ernest, Ernesto, Wemedge, Nesto, Ernie, Oinbones,Papa, Tatie, Hem, Hemingstein, Hems, or just plain Hemingway? We’ll see. Perhaps we’ll put it to a vote. I have a Hemingway party on his birthday every year (July 21) and I’ll take a poll there too and let you know the results.

The Hemingway July birthday party in my barn

The Hemingway July birthday party in my barn

Of course, none of my friends “get” it and think Hemingway was that guy who wrote in short sentences and wanted to fight with everyone and run with the bulls.  They are partially right and mostly wrong.  But hey, you can’t throw away old friends just because they don’t really read or have an informed opinion about Hemingway–or can you?

These posts will be short and fun (I hope). I try to post at least every two weeks. I hope it’s enjoyable for Hemingway people as well as for casual observers. I’ve looked at the other blogs about Hemingway. Most are terrific but there still is room for a lighter take and for the unending discussion about why we continue to read him fifty-four years after his death. And if you have to ask . . .

Check me out when you have a chance. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Hem, Hadley and Bumby


The Snows of Kilimanjaro

The Snows of Kilimanjaro



A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms


Give away of my first book through GoodReads

To all readers! There is a give away of 10 copies of my first book (Tell Me When It Hurts) on GoodReads. The main character is a Hemingway aficionado so you may enjoy the novel–a romantic suspense–for that reason as well as for the book itself.

Try this link to “apply.” Hope you will. The book is listed on Amazon if you want to see reviews. Good luck!  Best, Christine


May I ask for your help with my Kindle Scout Nomination?

The below book is the one I hopped over to work on my book called Hemingway’s Daughter. I love it though and it is featured on Kindle scout. If you  are able, could you please nominate it. Then Hemingway’s Daughter will come out sooner. THANK YOU!

Soon to be out

Soon to be out

Hello my friends and readers:

My second book, The Rage of Plum Blossoms, is being submitted to Kindle Scout for possible selection for publication by their private publisher. You don’t have to have read it as it is not yet published (5000 words are displayed though) but it does need your support to be noticed by the Kindle Scout team.  A quick summation:

Attorney Quinn Jones is in over her head. Her husband, Jordan Chang, Annapolis grad and superstar businessman, has been found dead outside their Greenwich Village brownstone. He’s wearing clothes that aren’t his, and was last seen at a place he never went, while consorting with people he shouldn’t. Since NYPD has labeled Jordan’s death a suicide, Quinn is on her own to uncover the truth. Courtrooms, Quinn knows. Chanel No. 5, horses, frizzy hair, and martial arts, she knows. Murder, she doesn’t know but she’s learning fast in order to stay alive. With a few clues to work with, including a photo of Jordan with a stunning unknown Asian woman and a copy of a 1986 check payable to Jordan for twelve million dollars, Quinn stalks the back streets of Chinatown, haunted by the need to know what happened that day and why. And then there’s the daughter Jordan forgot to mention.

May I trouble you to nominate my book for review by the Kindle board for consideration? I would appreciate it greatly.

With warmest and sincerest thanks,  Christine

TO be published soon too

TO be published soon too

David Brooks of the NY Times: Thoughts on Hemingway’s Cuba


David Brooks recently visited Cuba and Hemingway’s home, the Finca Vigia, and wrote a post about it. He commented on how

David Brooks, Columnist for the New York Times

David Brooks, Columnist for the New York Times

healthy a place Hemingway’s home in Cuba seemed. It was bright, beautifully situated, and filled with tons of reading material.Hemingway was an avid reader of newspapers and all sorts of books and got through most of his daily newspapers and other reading. There also was a baseball diamond nearby where he used to pitch to the local kids.

However despite this sun-filled life, Hemingway nevertheless was not a healthy man toward the end of his life. Drinking had taken its toll and although Brooks cites Hemingway’s brother, Leicester, as stating that he counted17 scotch and sodas a day as his brother’s intake, Leicester –at least based on all of my reading–spent little time with Hemingway so I’m not sure how he would know. If anyone reading this knows more of this issue than I do, please comment. Despite Hemingway’s drinking and poor habits, on a wall in the Finca was Hemingway’s record of weight, which he was obsessed with.Leicester Hemingway


Brooks noted that Hemingway could be lively and funny, and be the life of the party in a good way, but he also could be argumentative and depressed. If you follow this blog, you’ll know the extent.

Old Havana

Old Havana

The article is very interesting. Quoting a bit of David Brooks’ article:


“When you see how he did it, (Me: meaning how he accomplished his writing) three things leap out. First is the most mundane—the daily discipline of the job. In the house, there is a small bed where he laid out his notes and a narrow shelf where he stood, stared at a blank wall and churned out his daily word count.

“Second, there seemed to have been moments of self-forgetting… if you just try to serve the work—focusing on each concrete task and doing it the way it’s supposed to be done—then you’ll end up obliquely serving the community more.” (I think Brooks is saying there is a loss of self-consciousness in writing when you get to that point.)

“Finally, there was the act of cutting out. When Hemingway was successful, he cut out his mannerisms and self-pity. Then in middle age, out of softness, laziness and self-approval, he indulged himself, but even then, even amid all the corruption, he had flashes when he could distinguish his own bluster from the good, true notes.

“There is something heroic that happened in this house. Hemingway was a man who embraced every self-indulgence that can afflict a successful person. But at moments he shed all that he had earned and received and rediscovered the hardworking, clear-seeing and unadorned man he used to be.”

EH 4449P Ernest Hemingway reading books with his dog Negrita at Finca Vigia in Cuba. Please credit "Ernest Hemingway Collection/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"

EH 4449P
Ernest Hemingway reading books with his dog Negrita at Finca Vigia in Cuba. Please credit “Ernest Hemingway Collection/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston”





A Better review

This will be my last post about the movie reviews. We can all see it and come to our own conclusions.


4 out of 5 stars

Cuba is on my bucket list. I’m a big fan of Ernest Hemingway. And, the newly-released movie Papa: Hemingway in Cuba looked very intriguing. So, I pulled myself together and traveled Northeast, out of Baltimore, to the AMC Theatre, located in the White Marsh Mall.

At the outset, the film, a drama, could have used some selective cutting. Still, I’m giving it a high recommendation, particularly to literary buffs and Hemingway aficionados.

The plot is told from the point of view of a Miami, Florida-based journalist, Denne Bart Petitclerc. He also wrote a successful non-fiction book with the same title as the movie.

MV5BMjA5OTMzNTY4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTc5ODkzODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_I found the back story on Petitclerc, for movie purposes, a little too long. I thought: Who cares about his writing career and/or his then girlfriend at a Miami tabloid? The screenwriter should have handled all of that in a cut-to-the-chase fashion. It was more than enough to know Hemingway was a cultural icon to Petitclerc, and that he latter evolved into a father figure for him.

Petitclerc’s role (Ed Myers in the movie) is played by Giovanni Ribisi. At times, he was a little too stiff. However, Ribisi, though no Johnny Depp, was still good enough overall to get the job done in a credible manner.

The central figure is, of course, Ernest “Papa” Hemingway. He’s 59 years old at the time. I think Adrian Sparks was just right as the bigger than life author with the mega, but ultra-sensitive, ego. He carried the film. First, Sparks looked the part and, secondly, he had the acting range to show some of the nuanced sides of the failing Papa. The story was set in Havana, Cuba, in the late 50s.

The right-wing dictator General Fulgenico Batista was then hanging onto his power by a thread. There was one bloody scene in the capital city, that revealed exactly what it was like to live under a fading-Fascist regime. Hemingway’s sympathies, a la the Spanish Civil War, were decidedly with the emerging rebel forces.

The film was shot in Havana, and environs. Hemingway’s estate, Finca La Vigia, a beautiful space located 15 miles from Havana, is now a museum. It was utilized for much of the filming.

The movie captured the essence of the complex figure that was “Papa” in his declining years. A roaring drunk, often mean, who was in decline both intellectually and physically. Suicide, which took his father’s life, was never far from his mind. You see enough of Papa’s “dark side” to know that he was a deeply troubled soul.

Papa’s long-suffering wife No. 3, Mary Welsh Hemingway, was played superbly by the British actress Joely Richardson. She was a bitchy, nagging wife, when called for. Mary also came off as a “hottie” in some of the swimming pool scenes. In one party at the estate, she also took on skillfully the persona of a Marlene Dietrich.

Some of the insults that the sharp-tongued Mary delivered to Papa, in the company of his closest cronies at the estate, were enough to drive a sensitive dude, like the novelist, to self-destruct and/or pull out his gun and shoot her! Mary liked her booze, too.

Shaun Toub is the poet Evan Shipman, in the film, one of Papa’s genuine friends. Toub, an Iranian, is one darn good actor. He gives a compelling performance in a supporting role.

The Mafia plays a bit part in this movie, along with the FBI, and its long dead director, the much-feared J. Edgar Hoover. The musical score was nothing to shout home about, but the cinematography gets two thumbs up. I was hoping also to see my blue and white ’57 Chevy Bel Air make a cameo appearance on the streets of Havana, but no luck on that one.

The scenes between Papa and Myers were often moving when the famed novelist was the focus. This was particularly true, near the end of the film. Lots of good one-liners, too, in this flick

– See more at: conclusions. Note: The reviewer has it wrong that Mary was wife # 3. She was # 4.

Huffington Post’s Review: Again, not great

Movie Review – Jackie K Cooper
“Papa: Hemingway In Cuba” (Yari Film Group)

“Papa: Hemingway In Cuba” is a movie about Ernest Hemingway’s life during the mid 1950’s. At this time Hemingway was at the height of his career as an award winning novelist, but his mental demons were beginning to get the best of him. A newspaper reporter writes him a fan letter and is rewarded with an invitation to go fishing with Hemingway in Cuban waters. It sounds bizarre but it is said to be based on truth.

Ed Myers (Giovanni Ribisi) was working for a newspaper in Miami when he composed a fan letter to Hemingway. He composed it but he didn’t have the nerve to send it. His girlfriend Debbie (Minka Kelly) sent it for him, and Hemingway (Adrian Sparks) responded. He invited Ed to Cuba to fish and Myers went. The fishing trip and the letter were enough to bond the two men, and after this one expedition Ed received many more invites to visit Hemingway and his wife Mary (Joely Richardson) in Cuba.

Myers was an orphan and Papa Hemingway and Mary “adopted” him and became his family. Because of his close association with Papa and Mary, Ed was able to see Papa’s problems with writer’s block and also with the demons that haunted him from his past. Papa and Mary had a love/hate relationship which often ended up with Ed in the middle of their tirades against each other.

There is a lot of plot here and it is all interesting, however it is not particularly entertaining. This is because of the acting on display. Papa is the dominant figure in the story and tho Sparks is able to display a physical similarity to the man he never captures his soul or spirit. We hear the rants and moans but we never understand them. Plus these scenes appear just to be over emoting and not acting.

The same can be said of Richardson. She is never believable as Mary. She seems unable to make a decision as to her personality, and relationship with Hemingway. Was she a loving wife, a jealous shrew, or Hemingway’s chief tormentor? Richardson can turn on the tears but they seem to be crocodile ones.

The main flaw in the film, however, is Ribisi. He has made his career playing slightly quirky characters. In this film he is required to be the leading man and he just isn’t capable of doing that. Ed Myers is an ordinary man with a talent for reporting. He has a beautiful girlfriend and enough charm to worm himself into Hemingway’s good graces. A hundred other young actors could have pulled this role off with ease, but not Ribisi. It just isn’t in his wheelhouse.

The film is rated R for profanity, violence and brief nudity.

Hemingway is the preeminent writer of the twentieth century, so for some any insight into his life will provide sufficient reason to see this movie. But for those looking for a story with depth, and strong acting on display, this movie does not fill the bill.

I scored “Papa: Hemingway In Cuba” a novel 5 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper

Review of New Movie: Papa Hemingway in Cuba–Not too good

I am sorry to report that one of the early reviews of the new movie with Adrian Sparks as Hemingway and Giovanni Ribisi as Ed Meyers, a young journalist, was pretty sour. Beyond loving the Cuban scenery, the description of the movie as wooden is an “ouch” moment. Instead of flashing back to some of Hemingway’s allure and greatness, it sticks with his last two years, admittedly not his glory days. I would guess, given that time frame, that there is much drunkenness and fights with wife # 4, Mary. So disappointing. Below is the full review. Best, Christine



Papa Hemingway in Cuba


By DAN LYBARGER Special to the Democrat-Gazette

This article was published April 29, 2016 at 1:53 a.m.

Ernest Hemingway (Adrian Sparks) can’t summon his muse in Bob Yari’s Papa Hemingway in Cuba, the first Hollywood feature filmed on the island since Castro’s revolution.

 Papa Hemingway in Cuba

68 Cast: Giovanni Ribisi, Adrian Sparks, Joely Richardson, Minka Kelly, Shaun Toub, James Remar, Mariel Hemingway

Director: Bob Yari

Rating: R, for language, sexuality, some violence and nudity

Running time: 109 minutes

Papa Hemingway in Cuba is reportedly the first Hollywood film to be shot on the island since 1959. The Almighty has blessed Cuba with captivating scenery, which belies over a century of human turmoil there. It’s too bad the people who stand in front of this scenery in this film aren’t that interesting.

In real life they might have been, but neither screenwriter Denne Bart Petitclerc, who actually knew the title character, nor director Bob Yari (better known as a producer of Crash and The Illusionist) has anything worthwhile to say about Ernest Hemingway or his time there.

Petitclerc has been dead for 10 years, and it’s easy to see why his script sat on the shelf until recently. If he had any unique insights into the Nobel Prize winner and his writing, none have made it into the final cut of this film.

As played by Adrian Sparks, Hemingway is a famous but drunken has-been. When he’s not fishing, he’s prone to bouts of paranoia and yelling matches with his wife, Mary (Joely Richardson). The writer hangs out with veterans of the Spanish Civil War and appears to have ties to the Cuban Revolution. He’s unable at this point in his 59 years to turn a blank sheet of paper into something magical.

Most of this stuff could be gleaned from a high school literature class or from listening to a barroom blowhard unable to discern truth from fiction. Without having samples from Hemingway’s clipped but often powerful prose, viewers are simply given the impression that he was an obnoxiously pompous bore who liked swimming naked. Petitclerc gives Sparks and Richardson plenty of excuses to yell at each other, but one quickly wonders why anyone ever sought these two out.

Instead of examining the author’s complicated life or re-creating the tension that surrounded the fall of Batista’s Cuba, Petitclerc and Yari decide to rehash the old cliche about never meeting your idols. In this case, Petitclerc’s stand-in for himself, Ed Myers (Giovanni Ribisi), writes Hemingway a fan letter and then hides it because he’s not sure if the note is worthy of the great writer’s time. Ed’s girlfriend (Minka Kelly) saves the letter from the waste basket and sends it to Cuba.

Much of the material seems to have been cobbled together from something that might seem more at home on The Hallmark Channel or Lifetime. On second thought, those movies are delivered with more subtlety and craftsmanship. Many shots seem stiff and clumsy, as if the only prerequisite for a successful take was that the actors were standing and breathing.

The folks behind those quickly made offerings might know better than to cast a 42-year-old as a cub reporter. It’s odd to hear Sparks and Richardson call Ribisi “the kid.”

The Revolution, which has been depicted in great films like The Godfather: Part II, Steven Soderbergh’s Che and Mikhail Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba, is prime fodder for great drama, but when Ed has to tell Santo Trafficante (James Remar) to his face that he runs the mob in Cuba, it’s a sign that Petitclerc has no idea how to tell the audience who characters are without having to telegraph the fact.

At least we can see why Hemingway loved Cuba; whenever the stiff, profanity-laden dialogue ends and the people leave the landscape, nature reveals an island full of lush vegetation and gorgeous seascapes. It’s also great to see the distinctive architecture, like Havana’s Malecon seawall, and to hear the infectious music that comes from the island. If Yari were a more capable director (this is only his second effort in a 30-something-year career), he might have put the music more prominently in the mix to drown out Petitclerc’s drivel.

MovieStyle on 04/29/2016

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