When a Labor of Love Blooms

 

Yes, writing and creating takes time and timing. See below please how a novel became a movie. Best, Christine

Martha Gellhorn (wife 3) and Hemingway.

Alison Owen, Contributor
Producer
When A Labor Of Love Blooms
08/31/2017

Courtesy of The Weinstein Company
Dane DeHaan and Alicia Vikander star in TULIP FEVER.

The passage of time has become synonymous with something negative. For instance, over time we age – a negative. In this age of technology, we’re impatient for instant gratification. But there cannot be time constraints placed on art.

 Take Maxwell Perkins as an example. Perkins, who began his career working for The New York Times, was an editor at Scribner’s and to this day is known for discovering some of the most quintessential classic American authors including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe.

Max Perkins

Before Perkins, editors didn’t normally get so involved in shaping author’s work. He changed the meaning of the job in large part because of his working relationship with Thomas Wolfe. Though ingenious, Wolfe was stubborn. He lacked discipline, overwriting his stories by hundreds of pages, and fought Perkins’s edits at every word.

I first read Deborah Moggach’s Tulip Fever nearly 17 years ago. It was before the book had been published and I fell absolutely in love. I had already read a review of a factual book about the tulip fever of 1630s Amsterdam and was fascinated by the concept of this mania and how it was the first example of the futures market.

Tulip Fever; Alicia Vikander

I immediately bought the option and fewer than two days after I had sent it out, I had received offers from the industry’s greats. Stephen Spielberg, Ridley Scott and Harvey Weinstein were all interested. I felt like I was dreaming. But then the whirlwind slowed. I was devastated initially because I thought we’d missed our opportunity. Little did I know the zeitgeist would only become more applicable. 

The entertainment industry is continually in motion, constantly cranking out the next big project. When people hear how much time has passed between the option of the manuscript and the release, it automatically colors their perspective. The immediate instinct is that something is wrong. If you go into something with your mind made up, the chances of it being changed are incredibly slim.

Earlier this year, we screened the film for a host of best-selling authors including Amor Towles, Anthony Doerr, Dan Jones, Jodi Picoult, Philippa Gregory, M.L. Stedman, Philip Kerr, Sally Bedell Smith, Daniel James Brown, Emma Donoguhe, and Ruth Ware.  They praised the thrilling romance narrative, its humor, themes of female empowerment, the talent, the cinematography, the writing.

Catherine and Frederic the remake
Movie of A Farewell to Arms

In large part, this was why we went to authors for support. We knew they wouldn’t judge the movie based on how long it has taken to get to the screen. They don’t view the film with the same harsh eye that film critics do.  Time does not connote bad. To them, time has no meaning.

And this Friday, I could not be happier to share it with audiences.

ME:  So for those who like period movies, perhaps try Tulip Fever.

.

Lillian Ross: Friend or Foe of Hemingway

New book

The below is from a recent article about Lillian Ross who wrote an iconic interview of Hemingway. I quote just a bit but reprint my blog post on this topic. Thank you as always for your interest in Hemingway. Love, Christine

“Lillian Ross, who recently died at the age of 99, was one of the most remarkable writers of her time. She wrote for The New Yorker for half a dozen decades and redefined magazine journalism while providing fresh, vivid accounts of reality. She was never seen writing a note. The critic Edmund Wilson called her “the girl with the built-in tape-recorder.”

Lillian with an editor

Her clever handling of quotations was not always admired. She first aroused intense criticism with her profile of Ernest Hemingway, published in The New Yorker in 1950. Hemingway loved to talk about himself, especially when drinking, and he particularly liked comparing himself to champion athletes. When Ross interviewed him, he had just turned 50.

Hemingway around 50 years old

Many believed that she had depicted the leading American novelist of the day as a drunken blowhard. Hemingway didn’t think so. He liked the article and years later even provided a jacket blurb for a book by Ross.”

Read my blog post on this from a while ago. So sorry for Ms. Ross’ passing as she was a fine journalist, but Hemingway, from my reading, was not thrilled with the article she wrote. He accepted that it was what it was, the dye was cast, and maintained a friendship with her. My post is below.

 

Older post from nov 2015

How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen?

The above is a link to the Lillian Ross interview with Hemingway, a sad betrayal of his kindness and friendship to a young writer. My thoughts on this below.

There’s a famous profile of Hemingway that was published on May 13, 1950 in The New Yorker  done by a very young journalist at the time named Lillian Ross. Hemingway had helped her with her first big article about Sidney Franklin, the first Jewish-American bull fighter. Hemingway and Lillian Ross became friends and as Hemingway often did, he enjoyed taking this younger, very smart woman under his wing and addressing her as “daughter” and sharing some of the things that he knew with her.

Lillian's book after Hem's death
Lillian’s book after Hem’s death
Lillian Ross
Lillian Ross

 

Lillian Ross started working at The New Yorker in 1945 and seemed particularly adept at charming her subjects into saying things they might otherwise not say. She asked to do a profile on Hemingway, who needed the publicity like a hole in the head, but he agreed, hoping to help her career. She shadowed him for months and in particular went with him to New York on a three-day tour. Hemingway viewed it all as a lark.

Here’s where my objectivity stops. As I noted in my opening post five years ago, while I try to be objective about Hemingway and his flaws, which were many, I’m on his side. I’m not neutral. Lillian Ross’ article made him look like a self-involved jerk, almost ignorant. He thought she was his friend.

Hem relaxed
Hem relaxed

 

In that article are statements by Hemingway such as “Book is like engine. We have to slack her off gradually.” And then there’s this repeated gem apropos of nothing, “How do you like it now, Gentlemen.” Ross always maintained that it was an affectionate portrait of a wonderful writer, but, in essence, it made fun of him and it made him look ludicrous. If that’s how she saw him, then so be it. The press is free and she can write what she’d like to write, but don’t pretend it was an “affectionate” portrayal.

An older Lillian Ross
An older Lillian Ross

 

At the time, Lillian Ross was 24 years old and it was the opportunity of a lifetime to profile Ernest Hemingway, the biggest writer of the day. Years later, The New York Times wrote that “The effect of her severely unadorned portrait was to create an impression of an unpleasant egotist, a celebrity who, to a pathetic extent, had identified himself with his own public image.”   As one of Hemingway’s biographers, Jeffrey Meyers, wrote later that she’d repaid his generosity with meanness and malice, and established her reputation at his expense.” Quoting Meyers again, he notes that she never recorded or revealed the serious and sensitive side of his character and chose instead to portray him as a boring braggart. So how do you like it now, Gentlemen?

New book
New book

When Lillian published the profile in book form shortly after Hemingway’s death, she still claimed it was a sympathetic portrait of a great, loveable man. Few readers were fooled. She also claimed he was fine with it. True. He read it before publication; felt the dye was cast so said little; and passed on it, but it was not really “fine” with him. He was hurt.

reading
reading

 

If you look at the cover, could Lillian have picked a less attractive, less compelling photo? (See below right). In a reissue, there’s a nice photo of Hemingway and Lillian on the front, but I believe the original shows a Hemingway looking out of it and bizarre. If I’m wrong on this, someone out there probably knows, so please correct me.lillian_ross_book_01

 

Lillian Ross has written a new book in which Ross has collected selected pieces, including the Hemingway profile along with newer works spanning her sixty year career as a journalist. It is called “Reporting Always: Writings From The New Yorker.” It was published last week by Scribner’s, which, of course, is Hemingway’s publisher.

 

I can’t help being wounded for him. He trusted her and thought they were having some fun together and that she would not portray him as a lout. It’s his fault in part, no question for being too casual and not foreseeing damage for not taking the interview seriously. However, his loyalty was betrayed.ErnestHemingway and cat

 

Take a read and see what you think. Perhaps you’ll see it differently. I’m happy to stand corrected or confronted.

Love,

Christine

anger and betrayal
anger and betrayal

Did Hemingway Have a Favorite Wife? Hadley

Hem and Hadley near their wedding

Did Hemingway have a favorite wife?  Of course he did despite each wife having suited him at the time he married each.

Hadley near the time of her wedding

Hemingway had four wives:  Hadley Richardson, Pauline Pfeiffer, Martha Gellhorn, and Mary Walsh. Of the four, three were from the St. Louis area.  Only Mary was from elsewhere—Minnesota. Hadley was the great love of his life, in my opinion. Surely in retrospect, based on A Moveable Feast, she was.

The Paris Wife

Hadley and Hem were married on September 3, 1921 in Horton Bay, Michigan, and they spent their honeymoon at the family summer cottage, which featured significantly in Hemingway’s early short stories.  Hemingway’s biographer, Jeffrey Meyers, noted in his biography that, “with Hadley, Hemingway achieved everything he had hoped for with Agnes:  the love of a beautiful woman, a comfortable income, a life inEurope.” (Agnes was Agnes Von Kurowsky, his nurse in Italy who was the prototype for Catherine Barkley, the heroine of A Farewell to Arms). He called her Tatie or Hash.

Hem, Hadley, Bumby skiing in Europe

While the Hemingways had little money as they headed to Paris, Hadley’s modest trust fund sustained them. They had a small apartment, as well as a rented studio for Hemingway’s work, plus an abundance of expatriot and European friends, most of whom were writers.  Gertrude Stein’s salon was nearby and she was a mentor, although ultimately there was a falling out. 

 

One of the great dramas of their marriage occurred in December, 1922, when Hadley was traveling alone to Geneva to meet Hemingway there (he was covering a peace conference), and Hadley lost a suitcase filled with Hemingway’s manuscripts.  One can only speculate about what impact this ultimately had on his writing.  At the time, he was devastated.  As any writer knows, you can never recreate the first cut. However, scholars opine regularly about whether the loss enabled him to start from scratch and do a better job or whether it was an irreplaceable loss. Clearly, he did okay despite . . .

Pamplona

Still, Hadley was there at the beginning before he was the famous Ernest Hemingway. She was there during the ever-productive Paris years, which proved to be a touchstone gift that kept on giving. She funded his ability to write in Paris, enabling him to eventually at warp speed finish the first draft of The Sun Also Rises in six weeks 

 To Hadley’s dismay and hurt, she never figured significantly as a character in any of Hemingway’s books, which did tend to be based on actual people in his life.  The fictional memoir, The Paris Wife, paints Hadley as wounded that she was written out of The Sun Also Rises while starring Lady Brett Ashley, who’s based whole hog on Lady Duff Twysden.  

Almost married to Hadley

Hadley settled into married life as a wife and mother, but trouble was not far away. She and Hem met the charming Pfeiffer sisters.  Although initially Hemingway thought Jinny was the more attractive, it was the petite Pauline, a writer for Paris Vogue, who ultimately captured his attention.  As Pauline played the role of loyal, jokey pal to both Ernest and Hadley, she set her cap for Hem and he fell hard.

Hem, Hadley, Bumby

Now it was Hadley’s turn to be devastated. Initially, she resisted a divorce but later agreed. Their son, John aka Jack aka Bumby, was about 4 years old at the time. Hadley graciously accepted Hemingway’s offers of the royalties fromThe Sun Also Rises as child support and alimony.  At the time, she had no way of knowing whether those would amount to anything. As of that date, Hemingway’s writings had not created much money at all so for all Hadley knew, this new style of novel might do little in the way of sales.

Of course, the rest was history.  Hadley and Hemingway divorced in January of 1927.  The Sun Also Rises was published shortly before the final formal divorce.  Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer in May of 1927.  When The Sun Also Rises was made into a film, profits from the film also went to Hadley.  

Hadley and Hemingway remained friendly throughout their lives.She and Hem didn’t socialize, but they were in touch regarding their son, Jack, who was known in the family as Bumby).

Hadley stayed on in France until 1934.  Paul Mowrer was a foreign journalist for the Chicago Daily News.  She’d known him since the spring of 1927.  Mowrer was no light weight himself, having received the Pulitzer Prize as a foreign correspondent in 1929.  Hadley and Paul married in London in 1933.  The Mowrers ultimately moved to a suburb of Chicago.

After the divorce from Hemingway, Hadley saw Ernest only once again although they wrote to each other regularly. She and Paul Mowrer ran into him while vacationing inWyoming in Sept 1939.  Hadley died on January 22, 1979 in Lakeland,Florida.  She is the grandmother of Mariel and Margaux Hemingway, who are the children of Jack/Bumby.

Did Hem have a favorite wife? Hell, yes. Her name was Hadley.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/10/hadley-freeman-richardson-ernest-hemingway

 

Answers to Trivia Test

Real aficionados will find this so easy but casual readers . . .  not so much. Answers below!

trivia contest ready
Mary’s book

1)        Which Hemingway novel(s) were made into movies (Check all applicable)

  1. The Sun Also Rises   YES
  2. Old Man and the Sea  YES
  3. For Whom the Bell Tolls  YES
  4. A Farewell to Arms   YES

2)        Number of wives

  1. Three
  2. Four   X
  3. Five
  4. Two

Bonus point for first names  (Hadley, Pauline, Martha, Mary)

3)        What was Hemingway’s nickname for the Nobel Prize for Literature?  THE IGNOBLE PRIZE

4)        What animals populated his Cuban home?  CATS and Dogs and chickens

5)        As a writer, was the Hemingway the type to:

  1. get it down right the first time with few revisions or
  2. did he revise extensively  YES

6)        Famous couples in his books

  1. Jake and ?  (BRETT)
  2. Robert Jordan and ?  (MARIA)
  3. Frederic and ?  (CATHERINE)
  4. the Colonel and ? (RENATA)

7)        What was Hemingway’s personal nickname from the time he was 27?  PAPA

8)        Which book was Hemingway’s memoir and love story to the city of Paris? A MOVEABLE FEAST

9)        In what state was Hemingway born?  ILLINOIS

10)    In what state did Hemingway die?  IDAHO

11)    Where do Hemingway’s original papers and most of his memorabilia reside? THE KENNEDY LIBRARY

12)    To whom did Hemingway say “Never mistake movement for action.” MARLENE DIETRICH

13)    Who was Hemingway’s closest Hollywood friend, starred in one of his movies, and who “made it to the barn” (their slang for ‘died’) before Hem, much to Hemingway’s grief.  GARY COOPER

14)    Who said that Hemingway needs a new woman for each new book?  F. SCOTT FITZGERALD and Faulkner said something similar: that Hemingway seemed to feel he had to marry every woman he fell in love with.

Marlene

Story from Hemingway at age 10 is found in Key West

Hemingway’s spare style started early.  Read for yourself!  Article by Robert k. Elder       Love, Christine

 

Hemingway’s First Short Story Found in Key West
By ROBERT K. ELDER    SEPT. 29, 2017

Photo

Ten-year-old Ernest Hemingway’s notebook containing his untitled, previously unknown work of fiction. CreditSandra Spanier

When Hurricane Irma smashed into Key West, Fla., author Shel Silverstein’s historic home was nearly leveled. But it was another home in his neighborhood that had Brewster Chamberlin, a writer and historian, worried.

His friend Sandra Spanier was also nervous. Not only because she feared for Mr. Chamberlin, who weathered the hurricane at home with his wife, but also because they shared a discovery that few people knew about.

In May, she and Mr. Chamberlin found Ernest Hemingway’s first short story — an untitled, previously unknown work that he wrote at the age of 10 — in the archives of the Bruce family, longtime friends of the Hemingways. now this rare artifact could be blown off the island entirely. “I was really terrified,” said Ms. Spanier, the general editor of the Hemingway Letters Project and an English professor at Penn State University.

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, Mr. Chamberlin returned to the archive in Key West’s Old Town neighborhood. He walked past fallen trees and debris lining the yards, sidewalks and streets. “The collection is in fine shape,” Mr. Chamberlin reported. While the property lost several large trees, “there was no damage whatsoever to the building,” he said.

The notebook was there, unharmed, tucked inside a Ziploc freezer bag, with “Sep. 8, 1909,” written in black marker.

But how this notebook traveled from Hemingway’s hometown in Oak Park, Ill., to storage in ammo boxes in Key West is another story. Hemingway was the best chronicler of his own life, or in modern terms: a hoarder. He kept not only photos and letters, but also receipts, ticket stubs, dental X-rays, school assignments, Spanish bullfighting magazines and other ephemera. By the time Hemingway died in 1961, he left scores of material scattered in places such as Key West, Oak Park, Cuba and his home in Ketchum, Idaho.

Photo

Ernest Hemingway, left, poses with his longtime friend Toby Bruce in 1940. The latest collection was found in the archives of the Bruce family. CreditRegional History Department Ketchum Community Library

The author’s fourth wife, Mary Welsh Hemingway, spent years gathering letters, notebooks and Hemingway’s unfinished manuscripts, including the memoir of his Paris years, “A Moveable Feast.” In the winter of 1962, she traveled to Key West to visit Betty and Telly Otto “Toby” Bruce, who retrieved a pile of boxes left in a storeroom behind Sloppy Joe’s Bar, Hemingway’s favorite saloon. Bruce was a longtime confidant who had served as Hemingway’s mechanic, handyman and sometime chauffeur.

Mary took what she deemed important back to New York and gave the rest to the Bruces.

The collection also includes little-seen Hemingway photos, letters, a lock of the author’s hair and 46 prints, a gift from the famous photographer Walker Evans. Only within the last 15 years has it begun to be properly cataloged, due largely to the efforts of Mr. Chamberlin, who wrote “The Hemingway Log,” a timeline of the author’s life and career.

Hemingway’s travelogue through Ireland and Scotland was written as letters to his parents and what seem to be diary entries, so it didn’t seem significant. It was only when Ms. Spanier visited Mr. Chamberlin in May that they realized Hemingway never made this trip, as a child or as an adult. It was then that the full weight of the discovery hit them. “Oh my God, I thought, this is quite something. This is Hemingway’s first attempt at fiction,” Mr. Chamberlin recalled thinking.

In one section of the notebook, young Hemingway tells the story of a dead man who returns once a year to rebuild Ross Castle in Ireland, and host a nighttime feast. “When daylight comes the castle falls in ruins and O’Donahue returns to his grave,” wrote Hemingway in a spidery scrawl.

Although Hemingway’s penmanship wouldn’t improve much, his writing would. The story foreshadows the writer to be, not only in terms of Hemingway’s economy of language and use of landscape, but also in his mixing of reportage with fiction. This is a technique Hemingway would employ throughout his career to inject realism into his stories, to ground them with gravity of facts and experience.

Photo

There are no grade marks on the piece, so it’s unknown whether this was a draft of an English assignment, or if Hemingway was writing for his own amusement.

As for Dink Bruce, he couldn’t be more surprised by the whole thing, although time and the recent hurricane have made him rethink the future of the archive.

“A tornado can take them out, but they are as safe as they can be right now,” said Mr. Bruce, who splits his time between Key West and Livingston, Mont.

He’s considering selling the archive, so it can find a new home inside or outside of Florida.

“It deserves to be in some place where it can be studied,” he said.

 

Robert K. Elder is the co-author of “Hidden Hemingway: Inside the Ernest Hemingway Archives of Oak Park” and six other books.

 

 

 

The True Gen: Part 2

The story continues:

Gary and Patricia Neal
Gary and Patricia Neal in Bright Leaf

When Gary Cooper became embroiled in a torrid love affair with Patricia Neal—somewhat ironically—Hemingway was the one he talked to about it and the much married Hemingway encouraged him to return to his wife and family. Eventually Cooper did.

Cooper and Neal in The Fountainhead

Hem and Gary fished and rode together; Hemingway was always pulling a cigarette away from Cooper telling him they were going to kill him; Cooper was very close to Hemingway’s son Jack; Hemingway and Cooper both went into eclipse at roughly the same time, i.e. from 1945 to perhaps 1950 and then came roaring back strong.

Coop and wife Rocky

Hemingway came back with The Old Man and the Sea and Cooper came back with High Noon. Cooper was always surprised by Hemingway’s celebrity since it’s rare for a writer to be flocked by fans and Hemingway admired Cooper’s authenticity and the fact that he was far more intellectual than he would let on. It served his purpose to be thought to be the man of few words and ­­­­­­“everyman” who rose to heroics on occasion.  In fact, he was an intellectual of some depth. When Hemingway was depressed toward the end of the 50s, Cooper tried to find projects that would perk him up such as bringing Across the River and into the Trees and some of the short stories to life in movie or tv form.

When Cooper heard that Hemingway was in two plane crash, he was driving with his daughter Maria and almost swerved off the road, according to Maria. He was shaken to his core and immediately turned around to get to a phone to find out if there was any more news about his and Mary’s fate. When Jimmy Stewart accepted the academy award for career achievement on Gary Cooper’s behalf in January 1961, he was emotional.

Jimmy Stewart accepting the award for Gary Cooper Jan 1961

Few knew that Cooper was extremely sick with pancreatic cancer. Gary hid it from all except family for a year. Hemingway was devastated.  When Coop called for what both knew was their last call, neither acknowledged the sorrow or the extremis that both were in albeit in different ways. Coop closed by saying, “I bet I’ll beat you to the barn.” Hemingway sunk even lower into despair.

 

Gary Cooper died of cancer on May 13, 1961. Hemingway was in no condition to attend the funeral. Hadley, Hemingway’s first and most beloved wife, knew something was truly wrong with Hemingway when she read that he did not attend Coop’s funeral. She sent him a note that expressed fear for him and begged him to contact her. He didn’t. Hemingway died by his own hand six weeks later on July 2, 1961.

Hem’s Grave

Condolences rolled in for both of them as if they were heads of state and the impact was felt worldwide. There aren’t many actors or writers who elicit that response today. See “The True Gen.”  It’s beautiful.

THE TRUE GEN: Hemingway and Gary Cooper (Part One)

THE TRUE GEN: HEMINGWAY’S PHRASE FOR DISTINGUISHING THE REAL FROM THE FAKE, THE GENUINE ARTICLE FROM THE PHONY

PART ONE

I re-watched The True Gen, a documentary about Hemingway’s relationship with Gary Cooper. It’s narrated by the wonderful Sam Waterston and has fantastic footage of Idaho and of both men.

Hem and coop Sun Valley

They seem like polar opposites: The cowboy from out West in Helena, Montana, and the suburbanite born in Oak Park, Illinois; the world’s greatest actor of his era and the world’s most imitated and celebrated writer perhaps of the 20th century; the conservative (Cooper) and the liberal (Hemingway); and yet they became the closest of friends. Cooper was one of the few close friends that Hemingway never had any lasting falling out with. Hem claims he wrote the character Robert Jordan (For Whom the Bell Tolls) with Cooper in mind. He also appeared in A Farewell to Arms.

Catherine and Frederic in wartime

They met on September 28, 1940 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Both men were at their peak. Hemingway, who had no use for Hollywood stars and did not seek out celebrity, had always wanted to meet Gary Cooper. Gary Cooper, the taciturn, very polite westerner, had always wanted to meet Hemingway. His friends were surprised to hear that he wanted to meet the allegedly boorish, womanizing, drunken Hemingway.

Coop and horse

Nevertheless, he did want to meet him and he found Hemingway to be shy, self-effacing, fun, very different from what he had been led to believe. He could be boorish and he certainly could be drunk, but he often wasn’t. As Gary Cooper’s daughter Maria said, if Hemingway were the way he was portrayed in the press, i.e. a double-fisted drinking lout, her father would not have gotten along with him or liked him because her father was not that way. Hemingway was attracted to Cooper’s true devotion to a lack of artifice.

Hem, Coop, Rocky, and Martha

Gary Cooper was a genuine westerner who grew up on a ranch and on a horse. It’s no wonder that he looked good as The Virginian or in High Noon. He also had a real talent in art and began attending an art institute. He was sidetracked on his way through California to his next school,  when he stopped in Hollywood and saw a few of his friends from ranches near home who had become stuntmen. He thought he could do that because he really could ride a horse and in short order, he became a stuntman. With his tall lanky good looks, he was given a small part in a film but he’d shone brightly and shortly thereafter was cultivated into a star.

Hemingway never complete high school. He tried to enlist in the service in 1916 but his eyesight was so bad that he was rejected. He qualified however to be the ambulance driver, which he did in Italy. He was wounded and it forever shaped his view of war, courage, and concern about senseless violence.

Hem during the war

Cooper and Hemingway met regularly over the years. At times, Cooper’s wife Rocky recoiled from Hemingway’s bad behavior. Coop just shook his head but rarely was affected by it. Further with just a look, he could make Hemingway behave in a best version of himself. One example given was when Cooper and Hemingway with their families were staying at a hotel, and a young employee at the hotel interrupted Hemingway when he was writing. When he saw the young man later in the day, Hem really chewed him out. He was so harsh that Rocky, Cooper’s wife, said she wasn’t going to continue the trip. With very few words, Cooper took Hemingway aside. Hemingway then humbly apologized to the assistant and went so far as the next day to give him a large tip and apologize again. Hemingway came back to the car after the apology and said to Cooper, “Are you happy now you long-legged son of bitch?” It was said in good humor and Cooper just nodded. The trip continued.

Hem with the “Long-legged son of a bitch.”

To Be Continued

 

Boring Routine Has Been Dubbed Key To Creativity

Abbe Driver wrote a post recently about why having a “boring” routine is a key to creativity. It was printed in www.refinery29.uk, if you wish to view the original. Interesting!  Best, Christine

 

Had his routines.

People who don’t write usually think that fiction writers get inspiration and then begin to scribble when that inspiration hits. While there can be patches of that lightening striking, most of the time it’s being disciplined enough to sit down and write, discard what doesn’t work, and keep what does. Before I started writing, I thought that you sat by a sunny window and ideas floated in for the seizing, but that’s not how it works for most of us.

inspiration

Novelist Haruki Murakami gets up at 4:00 a.m. each day and writes for five hours. He then runs a few miles and swims a few miles and spends his evening listening to music or reading. His bedtime is set at 9:00 p.m. He told The Paris Review that repetition becomes the important thing. “It’s a form of mesmerism.  I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”

Those who read this blog regularly know that Hemingway awoke early when he was writing (at about 6:00 a.m.) and would write until the early afternoon. He’d then take a swim or relax and that was it for the day. He didn’t like to stop until he knew what was going to come next. However, he kept that schedule when he was writing and didn’t vary much from it. He usually cut down on his drinking while working on a novel.

Kurt Vonnegut made sure he did his pushups and sit-ups each day. Maya Angelou writes from a specially decorated hotel room she keeps solely for that purpose.

vonnegut

While this isn’t a very deep conclusion, it nevertheless seems to be true:  by keeping routines, your creativity can funnel into the work as opposed to scattering into thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner or do next. It’s a little like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs wearing only black uniforms. None of their creativity has /had to go into wardrobe selections for the day.

steve jobs

As Ms. Driver noted in her article, we don’t like to think about this boring routine resulting in some masterpieces or at least in some decent novels. “There is nothing sexy about sitting at your laptop and putting in cold, hard time; far more alluring is the wild-haired genius who doesn’t have to try. But that is deeply flawed logic and a dangerous belief to hold… Routines might work, but they don’t jive with our cultural obsession with the talented prodigy.”

Another observation was that having a routine guarantees you some down time. “Whether you’re doing yoga, listening to jazz or relaxing in the bath, making time for activities which aren’t too cognitively taxing allows your brain to shift gears.”

Gustave Flaubert said, “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

more sweat than lightening striking

A New Museum for Literary Greats in Chicago: The American Writers Museum

I’m writing this article based on an article by Karen Heller, dated June 23, that she published in The Washington Post. I’m quoting significantly from her but please read her original in The Post.

The American Writers Museum just opened in Chicago. It is the brainchild of Malcolm O’Hagan, 77, an Irishman who had the idea for this museum about eight years ago. It’s “a very visual place, a social environment where people interact.” There is a reading room for children and another for adults, play tables with catchy graphics that purport to go inside the mind of the writer and the use of music and film to make some points. Scents highlight the work of M.F.K. Fisher (strawberry jam) and James Beard (onions). On display are a pair of vintage Royal typewriters that invite visitors to type and create a story.

Writers’ room

There are 11,000 square feet of galleries. The museum cost almost $10 million to get off the ground, an amount that includes substantial funding from the Washington D.C. co-founders and friends. The founders chose not to use the donations to create a dazzling building. Rather, they are hoping that the museum grows in phases with a permanent building later, or perhaps not.

Featured writers

The founder is an Irishman who was reared in Yeates country. Mr. O’Hagan emigrated to the U.S. in 1968. “Growing up in Ireland, I loved the American writers—Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Hemingway—that made me love America.” Co-founder Lawyer Werner Hein, 74, grew up in Germany after the War and noted that America caught his imagination through the works of James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain, and Hemingway. Hein and O’Hagan met in Washington D.C. where they are members of a writing club. They noted that there is no place in America that specifically honors the nation’s authors. The third co-founder is business executive Jay Hammer, 62, and also a book club colleague.

Mr. O’Hagan

All three grappled with where to put this museum. Chicago has a fine tradition of writers and is in the center to the country. It’s the original home of Hemingway. The Director of Operations, Christopher Burrow, noted that “books can be kind of stale. We’re trying to bring them back to life.”

The Writers Hall honors 100 “significant” writers of fiction and non-fiction. They’ve tried to include diversity, women, and varied styles. Honors have been bestowed on Tupac Shakur, Julie Child, Richard Pryor and Herman Melville among the many others. So, Chicago is now home to a “dream born of Mr. O’Hagan’s Irish ardor for the American language and the written word.” The next project:  Turning the restrooms into additional gallery space while still keeping them functioning as bathrooms.

So if in Chicago, check it out. It looks very intriguing to me.

Vintage typewriters

Ms. Keller is a national General Features writer for Style. You can follow her on Twitter   @kheller.

 

 

 

Hemingway’s Last Home in Ketchum, Idaho

The house on a Hill: Hemingway’s home

Hemingway owned a house in Ketchum, Idaho at the time of his death.  He killed himself there and he was buried in Ketchum. He lived simply in that home with few adornments.

The ownership of the house after his death was gifted by his wife, Mary, to the Nature Conservancy.  It was a modest two story 2,500 square foot house which he loved.  The Nature Conservancy just transferred the house as a gift to the Community Library, a privately funded public library.  The library has indicated that an apartment in the house will be renovated for a residency program for visiting writers, scholars and artists.  The house still has many of Hemingway’s personal possessions and some will be put on display at the Sun Valley Museum of History.

Interior

Hemingway owned the house from April 1959 until his death, July 1961, at the age of 61.  The house was given by Mary Hemingway to the Nature Conservancy with the restriction that it was precluded from operating as a public museum.  The Nature Conservancy used the house as a field office before outgrowing it.  The property is 13.9 acres and while the property is worth millions, the house is “small and outdated compared with the mega mansions common in the area.”

Grave

The Carr Foundation supplied the money to make the purchase of the Hemingway house by the Community Library possible.  It appears that philanthropist Gregory Carr, who was born in Idaho and owns a home in the Ketchum area, made the donation.  Jenny Emery Davidson, who is the executive director of the library, noted that “people are interested in Hemingway but the people who have stepped up so far are people who care about Idaho.”  She also said the house is a perfect fit for the library, which has a regional history division, and is keen to promote the area’s literary icon.  The house will not be open to the public like Hemingway’s other homes in Key West and Havana, but there will be some access. (At this time people cannot enter the house in Havana but can view it from the outside.  It’s being restored and it is unclear if there will be access to the interior in time.)

Hem and Mary

Davidson noted that “we plan to treat it as a home.  Sometimes people invite small groups of people to their home.”

So time moves on but Ketchum, Idaho maintains its love and respect for the Hemingway property.

Hem’s view while writing