Hem and the Revised A Moveable Feast

You love both and you lie and hate it. It destroys you and every day is more dangerous and you work harder and when you come out from your work you know what is happening is impossible, but you live day to day as in a war. Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast 

Deception Hurts
A Moveable Feast

It’s a story as old as the ages.  Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl, girl loses boy to other girl. I always knew that Hem loved Hadley best. It could just be that Hem and Hadley were together at the beginning, before he was THE Ernest Hemingway.  She loved him when he was just Wemedge, Tatie, and Ernie. She willingly used her modest trust to fund their life in Paris, a truly fruitful time for Hemingway in terms of creativity, useful alliances and friendships, and ambiance. While Hem had been in love before, most notably with Agnes Von Kurowsky, the nurse in Italy (more of her in some other post perhaps), Hadley and Hem seemed connected at the hip in the early years. Even when Hem was not thrilled by the announcement of a baby being on the way, he by all reports adored Jack aka Bumby and was a good father to all three of his boys. His longing for a daughter remained always unfulfilled.  But I digress.

Hem, Hadley, and Jack

Pauline has been portrayed as a Mata Hari sort of figure in most biographies including the originally edited version of A Moveable Feast.  Mary, Hem’s fourth wife, edited the first version and Aaron Hotchner chose the title, which is a tour de force.  The first version was published in 1964 just three years after Papa’s death in July 1961 and Mary was known for protecting the Hemingway legacy fiercely. It is clear that her view of the past colored the decisions as to which incidents were included in the book and which were not.  However, that being said, she also must have had some insight into how Papa experienced those events as they had a long marriage and Papa was a raconteur. I presume Mary heard a lot about the Paris years.

Gertrude Stein, Godmother to Bumby

The new version of A Moveable Feast , published by Hemingway’s regular publisher, Scribner’s, was edited by Sean Hemingway, son of Patrick Hemingway, one of  Hem’s son with Pauline. It is more generous to Pauline. The new version allegedly presents material in a truer, less edited form and relies on a typed manuscript that is said to have been the last draft that Hem worked on, with his original handwritten notations followed more truly. One famous passage about Hemingway’s pain at still loving loyal Hadley but being in love with Pauline with whom he has just had a tryst reads:

When I saw my wife again standing by the tracks as the train came in by the piled logs at the station, I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her. She was smiling, the sun on her lovely face tanned by the snow and sun, beautifully built, her hair red gold in the sun, grown out all winter awkwardly and beautifully, and Mr. Bumby standing with her, blond and chunky and with winter cheeks looking like a good Vorarlberg boy.

Hemingway did not include this episode in his final manuscript but rather in other notes and it was Mary who included it at the book’s end where it packs a punch.

For those interested in legal “stuff”—and I am—Hem had little in the way of money when he and Hadley divorced. It was 1926 and The Sun Also Rises was about to be published. Hem wrote the first draft in eight weeks and all of his cronies were in it except Hadley–which hurt her. After the divorce hit, Hem wrote to Hadley offering her the royalties for life as alimony and child support for Bumby. At that point, no one knew if the book would flop and earn nothing or . . .  be what it ended up being. As it turned out, it was the gift that kept giving.  Hadley, ever gracious, accepted the offer as a settlement with no recriminations. She had faith in him but it also was just not her way to push and accuse. (Hadley went on to have a long, apparently happy marriage but no more children but she always seemed to have a love for Hemingway. Margaux and Mariel Hemingway were her grandaughters, Jack’s children. Hadley died in 1979;  Pauline passed in 1951 and that’s definitely another post.) The Paris years provided writing material to Hem forever in different iterations.

Hem dedicated The Sun Also Rises to Hadley and John Hadley Nicanor in a final gesture of respect and love, regret and loss. (This book is for Hadley and John Hadley Nicanor.) The “Nicanor” was the name of a Spanish matador Nicanor Villalta y Serris, whom Hem had taken a shine to the year of Jack’s birth.

Hem moved on to a wealthier woman in Pauline who could fund his writing although I never saw Hem as an opportunist in that way.  Money was part of Pauline’s package and mystique but he loved her and wanted her not because of that. It just came with her.

There will be more about Hem and his divorces and wives in the future, but the first seems to have been sweeter than the rest, to quote Joan Osborne.

For more on the reediting: : http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/A-New-Taste-of-Hemingways-Moveable-Feast.html#ixzz29CWEvWSF

Oops! Famously Scathing Reviews of Classic Books From The Times’s Archive: one of a Hemingway novel which admittedly was not his best. Read on. Best, Christine

We called “Sister Carrie” a book “one can get along very well without reading,” dismissed “Lolita” as “dull, dull, dull,” and had nothing nice to say about “Howards End.”

A clip from The Times's review of the book "Ulysses," by James Joyce, when it came out in 1922.
A clip from The Times’s review of the book “Ulysses,” by James Joyce, when it came out in 1922.
Tina Jordan

By Tina Jordan

  • March 9, 2019

What can we say? We don’t always get it right. Here’s a look back at some of our most memorable misses.

A version of this article appears in print on March 11, 2019, Section C, Page 5 of the New York edition with the headline: Oops! Scalding Reviews of Some Classics Bubble Up. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

The Nobel Prize For Literature in 1954

Please listen. Hearing his voice was wonderful.
The Old Man and The Sea
The Old Man and The Sea
Nobel Prize to Wm. Golding
Nobel Prize to Wm. Golding

He did it.  He should have done it in 1942 for For Whom the Bell Tolls but the committee was divided; some felt the sexual content was “improper”; no prize was awarded at all that year.  It’s a bit sad that the award happened when it did, as Hem was not up to accepting it in person at that time and, I think, would have truly appreciated it.  He scoffed at the Nobel Prize for Literature calling it the Ignoble Prize but it mattered to him to be passed over.

Well, he won it for The Old Man and the Sea, his little novella that was to be part of a trilogy.

I'm appreciated!
I’m appreciated!

Listen to the speech on the above link (well it’s just the beginning of the speech) in Hem’s voice.  He enunciates his “t’s” and I’m not sure if it was for the purpose of being clear in this speech or if that was his mid-western accent.  (If anyone out there knows, please let us know.) He could not make it to the actual ceremony due to the two plane crashes he’d been in  and other health matters.  John Cabot read his acceptance speech in Sweden and Hem made this recording after.

Hem, Martha, and boys on Safari
Hem, Martha, and boys on Safari

It’s humble and beautiful–and short.

It’s funny. Words are a writer’s craft and lifeline, yet many writers are not outgoing.  Hem apparently was actually shy especially when not drinking and he was always reluctant to engage in public speaking.

Today, given the press for writers to be “out there”, I wonder how he would feel about twitter and facebook for himself.  He likely would not have done it in the later years. His privacy became more valuable but of course, by then, he was not ernest hemingway but HEMINGWAY so no need to cultivate the masses.

Hem at typewriter
Hem at typewriter

I wish he’d lived longer.

To Hem
To Hem

And it all could have been different! Thank you, Don, for pointing me to this article. Best to all, Christine

Historian: Charlevoix gambling win was significant for Ernest Hemingway

Young man with all of it ahead

If not for Charlevoix, the trajectory of Ernest Hemingway’s life would have been very different, according to Charlevoix historian David Miles.

In 1920 when renowned author Ernest Hemingway was in his late teens, he won money at a Charlevoix gambling house that prevented him from having to work at the cement plant located at what’s now Bay Harbor, said Miles.

John Koch founded the Colonial Club, an illegal gambling house, at 209 Meech St. in Charlevoix around 1916. “It was a high-class gambling club and gourmet restaurant,” said Miles.

Koch apparently had enough clout in Lansing so he was able to stay open year after year into the 1930s in an era where gambling was illegal, said Miles.

“Ernest Hemingway came here one night in 1920. He had been kicked out of the family cottage in Walloon. He was always like this with his mother, it was a very fraught relationship,” said Miles.

Miles said the reason for the row was a beach party she accused Hemingway of holding at their cottage. His mother accused him of the indiscretion, when in reality it was actually his sister who was the guilty party.

“His mother kicked him out and he ended up at a cheap boarding house in Boyne City,” said Miles. “He was down to his last $6 and his friends, in July 1920, picked him up to go to Charlevoix to Koch’s to gamble. He walked in with his last $6 and he sat down at the roulette table and parlayed that last $6 into $59, when they picked him up around 2 a.m. to go home,” said Miles.

“That got him through the rest of the summer.”

hem back row right. OVerbearing mother in front.

In a letter housed at the Charlevoix Historical Society, Hemingway wrote that the winnings in Charlevoix that evening, “prevented him from having to go to work at the cement plant where Bay Harbor is now, “ said Miles.

This and many other stories taken from the letters of young Hemingway have inspired a documentary coming soon to the Charlevoix Cinema.

So what’s with the Woman in the Mask on this Site?

What I could have used for header

A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not. Ernest Hemingway

Who knows what’s real?

“According to those who knew him well, Hemingway was a sensitive, often shy man whose enthusiasm for life was balanced by his ability to listen intently.

That was not the Hemingway of the news stories.  The media wanted and encouraged a brawnier Hemingway, a two-fisted man whose life was fraught with dangers.  Hemingway, a newspaper man by training, was complicit in this creation of a public persona, a Hemingway that was not without factual basis, but also not the whole man.  Critics, especially, but the public as well, as Hemingway hinted in his 1933 letter to [Maxwell] Perkins, were eager ‘automatically’ to ‘label’ Hemingway’s characters as himself, which helped establish the Hemingway persona, a media-created Hemingway that would shadow–and overshadow–the man writer.”  (Michael Reynolds, “Hemingway in Our Times.”  The New York Times, July 11, 1999)

The mask above which i chose when setting up this blog  seems indicative of a great portion of Hemingway’s life and his characters.  We all think of Hemingway as the great hunter, aficionado of bull fighting, guns, and fishing, everything that is macho and, in modern culture, these are interests bordering on offensive to many.  I think Hemingway would admit readily that his image took over who he was although the image was part of him, too and he mined it regularly.

A collection of letters recently presented to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, generously established by his widow Mary, has been cited in several articles recently for their disclosure of a much more tender side of Hemingway.  In particular, one letter recounted his grief at the death of one of his cats.  In February 1953, Hemingway wrote to an Italian friend about the death of his beloved cat, Uncle Willie.  The cat was found with its two right legs broken and Hemingway needed to shoot it to put it out of its misery.  The same day, a tourist arrived at his door.  “I still had the rifle and explained to them that they had come at a bad time and to please understand and go away,” Hemingway wrote from Cuba.  “But the rich Cadillac psycho said, ‘We have come at a most interesting time just in time to see the great Hemingway cry because he has to kill a cat.”

The fifteen new letters in and of themselves have an interesting history.  The letters were written to Gianfranca Ivancich, a long-time Italian friend of Hemingway’s and the brother of Adriana Ivancich, who is believed to be Hemingway’s late-in-life muse, particularly for Across the River and into the Trees.  The letters have never been published and claim to reveal a gentle side to the writer.  The John F. Kennedy Library purchased the letters from Ivancich whom he met in Italy in a hotel bar in Venice in 1949.

“There is this very machismo image of him which is what everyone knows” said Susan Wrynn, the Curator of the Libraries of Ernest Hemingway Collection.  “These letters bring a great deal more of depth to his personality.  It’s charming.”  Hemingway in the letter goes on to note that while he has had to shoot people, it was never anyone “I loved for eleven years nor anyone that purred with two broken legs.”  It’s a sad tale but also shows a side of Hemingway that has had little exposure.

John Kennedy was a fan.  Although he never met Hemingway, in his Profiles in Courage, Kennedy cited Hemingway’s definition of courage:  grace under pressure.  Kennedy had invited Hemingway to attend his inaugural but that was in January 1961 and Hemingway was not up to it.  He respectfully sent his apologies.  He died in July 1961.  The library’s Hemingway Collection is the largest repository in the world of his manuscripts and letters with more than 2,500 letters written by him and 7,500 letters written to him.  When Wrynn went to Italy to pick up the letters, she had a six hour layover in Heathrow inLondon describes a very nervous experience guarding of the file folders that were in her carry-on.  It’s a bit reminiscent–and I’m sure this passed through her mind–of Hadley losing Hemingway’s early manuscripts on the train.

In any event, these letters arrived safely.

All this leads me back to masks.  Jake Barnes of The Sun Also Rises had the mask of being able to woo Brett when he couldn’t; Brett had the mask of the philanderer when she yearned for some sort of stability–or did she?  Robert Jordan was a warrior in For Whom the Bell Tolls but really all he wanted was to find a little quiet spot in Madrid with Maria.  The idea of the persona behind the mask is a recurrent one in Hemingway and is played out in his personal life.  Thus, I chose it for my header.

Cats are transparent. this is mine, Phineas

What to read in Quarantine about being free and outside: TWO Hemingway books on the list. I put Hemingway portion in bold in case you are pressed for time and added the photos.Best to all. Christine

Outdoor books to read when you can’t go far outdoors

    Duluth News Tribune (TNS) 
  • 7 hrs ag0

DULUTH, Minn. — So we aren’t supposed to travel to wild places now, or anywhere far from home for that matter, so maybe the next best thing is to sit in a comfy chair and read about the outdoors.

Here’s a hastily compiled list of what I’ll call “great outdoor reads” based on my own musings, suggestions from friends and, in at least one case, the Pulitzer and Nobel prize committees. Some are classics, some newer, all of them based around the outdoors.

I’ve also thrown in some local and regional options.

I have read some, but not all, of these, so the descriptions are a mix of my recollections, book reviews and jacket summaries, so take them as you will.

Good reading.

Verandas and out of doors at the Finca in Cuba

“The Call of the Wild”

By Jack London, Macmillan publishing (now Simon & Schuster). First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London’s masterpiece. Don’t go mistaking this for a children’s book, even if that’s when you last read it. Based on London’s experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Klondike.

The main character of the novel is a dog named Buck. The story opens at a ranch in Santa Clara Valley, California, when Buck is stolen and sold into service as a sled dog in Alaska. He becomes progressively more wild as he’s forced to fight to survive and dominate other dogs. By the book’s end, Buck is as wild as a wolf.

“A River Runs Through It and Other Stories”

By Norman Maclean, University of Chicago Press. You’ve probably seen the movie, but have you read the book? It’s a semi-autobiographical collection of three stories by Maclean, who died in 1990 at age 88. Much of the book deals with his relationship with his ne’er-do-well brother, Paul, and his father, as Maclean grew up in rural Montana in the early 1900s.

The book starts like this: “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly-fishing.” And boom, you’re hooked.

Michigan with Gregory

“Into the Wild”

By Jon Krakauer, Villard publishing. Krakauer’s 1996 masterpiece was a followup to his magazine article on Christopher McCandless titled “Death of an Innocent,” which appeared in the January 1993 issue of Outside. (The book was adapted to a film of the same name in 2007.)

The book now is used as required reading in some high school or college literature classes. It was an international bestseller, printed in 30 languages.

McCandless grew up in suburban Annandale, Virginia. After graduating from college in May 1990, McCandless stopped communicating with his family, gave away his bank account of $24,500 to charity and began traveling across the Western United States.

upper peninsula

In April 1992, McCandless hitchhiked to the Stampede Trail in Alaska. He took off down the snow-covered trail with only 10 pounds of rice, a .22 caliber rifle, several boxes of rifle rounds, a camera and a small selection of reading material, including a field guide to the region’s edible plants. He declined help to buy sturdier clothing and better supplies. McCandless perished sometime around the week of August 18, 1992, after surviving more than 100 days on his own.

“A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There”

By Aldo Leopold, Oxford University Press. The 1949 book describes the country around the author’s home in Sauk County, Wisc. It’s a collection of essays (some that had been previously published in outdoor magazines) that describe Leopold’s idea of a “land ethic,” or a responsible relationship existing between people and the land they inhabit. Edited and published by his son, Luna, a year after Leopold’s death, the book is considered a landmark in the American conservation movement.

Leopold writes that land is not a commodity to be possessed; rather, humans must have mutual respect for Earth in order not to destroy it. He also warns us that humans will cease to be free if they have no wild spaces in which to roam.

“On Trails: An Exploration”

By Robert Moor, Simon & Schuster. This book was a New York Times Bestseller and a winner of the 2017 Saroyan International Prize for Writing and declared the best outdoors book of year by the Sierra Club.

Hem’s view while writing in Idaho

On Trails is a soul-searching exploration of how trails have helped Moor, and maybe the rest of us, understand the larger world. Moor was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail when he started wondering about how trails form. Over the next even years, Moor traveled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, long and short, obvious and hidden, melding his own experiences with findings from science, history, philosophy, and nature writing.

“Meditations on Hunting”

By Jose Ortega y Gasset, Scribner Book Company. This may be the most quoted book about hunting ever written, even though the paperback version is only 136 pages (first published 1972.) It’s been called the finest work on the essence and ethics of hunting. Ortega states that life is constantly changing dance between man and his surroundings. He explains that hunting is part of man’s very nature, that “hunting is a universal and impassioned sport … it is the purest form of human happiness. The essence of hunting or fishing involves a complete code of ethics of the most distinguished design. The sportsman who accepts the sporting code of ethics keeps his commandments in the greatest solitude with no witnesses or audience other than the sharp peaks of the mountain, the stern oak, and the passing animal.”

Ortega lived from 1893 to 1955. Good luck finding a cheap version of this book. They are going on Amazon for upwards of $65.

Hem and Gregory, his third son

“Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast”

By Hank Shaw, Rodale Books. Shaw put into book form what he’s been doing on his blog for years. A lifelong angler and forager who became a hunter late in life, Shaw writes about his passion for hunting and fishing and cooking and eating what he kills. Shaw specializes in recipes for some of the lesser known wild foods that are available in the woods.

Shaw not only describes his adventures afield but then takes readers from the field into the kitchen in an easily understood, exciting fashion that includes recipes and directions for things like homemade root beer, cured wild boar loin, boneless tempura shad, Sardinian hare stew and pasta made with acorn flour.

If you like to eat what you kill, you probably will like his book.

“The Old Man and the Sea”

EH1669N Pauline, Patrick, Ernest, John, and Gregory Hemingway with four marlins on the dock in Bimini, 20 July 1935. Please credit, “Ernest Hemingway Collection/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston.”

By Ernest Hemingway, Scribners. Okay, if you haven’t read this book you might have missed high school literature class. But if you haven’t read it in that long, give it another look. It is, for American fishing literature, about as good as it gets. You may or may not like Hemingway’s style, but here it is in its most vivid form, and in relatively short (128 pages) form. Released in 1952 it was the last major work of fiction by Hemingway published during his lifetime. The book tells the story of Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman who — after not catching a fish for 84 days — struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cuba, one of Hemingway’s favorite places.

In 1953, The Old Man and the Sea was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and it was cited by the Nobel Committee as contributing to their awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Hemingway in 1954.

“Hemingway on Hunting”

By Ernest Hemingway, Scribners (edited and forwarded by Seann Hemingway and Patrick Hemingway.) Does Hemingway deserve two books on this list? Of course he does, and it’s my list. Hemingway’s love for the hunting life is reflected in this collection of his shorter stories, including his famous account of an African safari in “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” to passages about duck hunting in “Across the River and Into the Trees.”

Hemingway, like Ortega, believed hunting was the best way for people (namely men, for him) to explore their humanity and relationship to nature.

Hemingway on Hunting also includes hunting pieces he wrote for magazines, including Esquire and Vogue.

Hem, Mary, Baby deer

“Grinnell: America’s Environmental Pioneer and his Restless Drive to Save the West”

By John Taliaferro. Liveright Publishing. Taliaferro was already an acclaimed biographer when he wrote this piece on George Bird Grinnell. If you are asking who Grinnell is, you need to read this book. Among the famed early conservationists of his time, like Muir and Roosevelt, Grinnell is probably the least-recognized and most underappreciated. In the late 1800s Grinnell, a zoologist and anthropologist by training, surmised that the United States was experiencing an alarming decline of birds and other wildlife. So he started writing and editing countless articles arguing for conservation policies. He helped form the Audubon Society, and along with Theodore Roosevelt, was a founding member of the Boone and Crockett Club, organized by concerned hunters for the protection of wildlife habitat.

(I edited it to shorten it. For full article see: https://www.nny360.com/artsandlife/booksandauthors/outdoor-books-to-read-when-you-can-t-go-far-outdoors/article_1b6fe5f8-b480-541a-b732-dfbdac268b84.html)

Hem as young man out in the snow

A Rose by Any Other Name Or The Importance of Being Ernest

A Farewell to Arms

Write drunk; edit sober.    Ernest Hemingway

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Would The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo be the success it was by any other name? What if had been called Ah those Crazy Swedes, or A Winter in Hell? How about The DaVinci Code? What if had been called Beware of Albinos or The Professor and the Pope? Of course not. The actual titles have a cachet that sparkles. The covers didn’t hurt but that’s another post.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wanted to call The Great Gatsby, one of the following: Under the Red White And Blue or Trimalchio’s Banquet, Among the Ash Heaps, The High-Bouncing Lover, or Incident at West Egg, among others. Finally Zelda and Max Perkins, his editor, persuaded him of the ultimate title.
Sometimes it seems that marketing is all. It’s not of course. There has to be a great book under that superb title just like there has to be a great book under a pretty title and cover.

My first novel is called Tell Me When It Hurts. It’s about healing and second chances but I was shocked to find that casual perusers thought it was non-fiction and about divorce. (I’m a divorce lawyer). Yes, that would make a good title for a divorce how-to book, but it’s a novel. The title was intended to reference the different capacities that we all have to deal with life pain and the need at some point to say “enough!”

My second novel had a working title The Things That Stick which was changed to The Rage of Plum Blossoms. Editors in the know opined that The Things that Stick does not evoke a picture. I changed it to The Rage of Plum Blossoms to evoke a picture. It has done nicely under that title.

The point is that titles are important. Titles attract. The inside needs to be good but first someone has to pick it up. Hemingway often got his titles from the Bible. Aaron Hotchner came up posthumously of A Moveable Feast. So take a look at my ridiculous alternate titles.

Here are my alternate titles for Hem’s big four:

The Sun Also Rises:

 Just Saying

My Paris Friends

Jake and the Missing Part

The Girl with the Unfortunate Matador

Me and the Guys

For Whom the Bell Tolls:

Death in Spain

Robert and the Magnificent Bridge

A Bridge too far (Oops, taken)

Too Little Too Late

Love is All There is

The Old Man and the Sea:

   The Fish is Gone

What’s for Dinner?

Me and My big Fish: Not

A Funny Thing Happened on my way back to the Dock

A Farewell to Arms:

The Girl with the Nurse’s Uniform

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Catherine and the Rain

Say it isn’t so

Life’s a bitch and then you die

Okay, my titles are silly but it just goes to show that it’s not easy to find a title that is fresh, compelling, has gravitas commensurate with the subject matter and that seizes your interest before you crack a page. I still want to rethink the title of my first book.

So tell me your favorite alternate titles? They’ve got to be better than mine.

Family Boat 

Writers tips about working from home: we can all use a few of these as we self-isolate. Writers voluntarily self-isolate so let’s consider their strategies. I added Hem photos. Stay safe and hope this ends soon. Best, Christine

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing many of us to work from home. There’s plenty to learn from the people who’ve always worked in isolation.

Brigid Delaney

Brigid Delaney @BrigidWD

Young woman using a laptop while working from home
 Here are tips to not just survive social isolation and work from home, but thrive in it. Photograph: mapodile/Getty Images

If there is one cohort uniquely prepared for both working from home and going into isolation – it is writers (also people in closed monastic orders).

Writers with book deadlines or a passion project that must be written nowusually have to go into lockdown in order to get the damn thing finished.

They stock up on food, limit their communication with the outside world, create and stick to a routine and stay healthy by getting enough rest and healthy food.

Here’s some of their tips for not just surviving while you work from home or socially isolate – but for thriving and doing some of your best work yet.

Do the hard things first

Ernest Hemingway started writing at 6am each morning and had the fairly consistent routine of a mid-level accountant – not the loose unit that he was in his non-writing life.

“When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write,” he told Paris Review.

If working from home, start working on the big tasks for the day – the presentation you need to finish, the report you have to write – as early as possible. Obviously if you have caring responsibilities, some things are going to be out of your control, but you’re going to be freshest in the morning. There’ll also be less distraction from email and your group chat sending you the latest scary news from the pandemic.

Once you’ve got the tasks that require the deepest thought out of the way, you can switch to bitsier, more reactive work. You’ll probably find you get more work done in less time, so if you’ve got the kind of job that requires you to be online just in case work comes in, you can spend the rest of the day doing things you enjoy like reading or baking while you wait for your inbox to ping.

Have a routine and stick to it

You’ll need to lock in a routine fairly quickly and stick to it if you want to be productive working from home.

Writers in full throttle will have a schedule that wouldn’t look out of place in the military. They get up at the same time each day, have a word count goal, a time when they put down their pens, a time set aside for exercise, a time when they start drinking and – for today’s writers –a discipline around using the internet and social media.

Even interaction can be scheduled. As Graham Greene wrote in the End of the Affair, “When I was young not even a love affair would alter my schedule. A love affair had to begin after lunch.”

Make sure you plan ahead. When I’m writing, the night before I will write a to-do list, so when I wake the next day (always at the same time each day, and starting work straight away) I have a sense of what needs to be done. I methodically work through the list and tick off tasks throughout the day. By the end of the day, even though I have just been a blob sitting in a chair, I feel a sense of achievement.

Kurt Vonnegut in a letter to his wife outlined his routine – which really had all the elements: “I awake at 5.30, work until 8.00, eat breakfast at home, work until 10:00, walk a few blocks into town, do errands, go to the nearby municipal swimming pool, which I have all to myself, and swim for half an hour, return home at 11.45, read the mail, eat lunch at noon. In the afternoon I do schoolwork, either teach or prepare.”

At 5.30pm he had a Scotch and was in bed at 10pm. All throughout the day he did incidental exercise such as pushups and sit-ups.

You must exercise daily

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami could only get through the slog that is a writer’s confinement by committing to a rigid exercise regimen. He said in a 2004 interview, “When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4am and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10km or swim for 1500m (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9pm. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerise myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”


Even if you live in a tiny apartment and are working from home, you will need to exercise every day or both your body and mind could get a bit unhinged. These guides to exercising at home during lockdown – using appsand makeshift props – might help. And then there’s our early role model – the marathon runner in Wuhan who ran 31 miles around his dining room table.

The internet is your enemy

Social distancing would be a lot harder without the internet. As I write, it’s day 10 of my social isolation and I’ve been in more contact with more friends, in more parts of the world, than the entire rest of this year combined. With no coworkers to look over your shoulder and judge you for checking Facebook, texting, and having long phone chats, you’ll have to be self-disciplined about not spending all day on FaceTime in your pyjamas.Advertisement

If you are going to be effective you’ll need to quarantine yourself from social media and phone calls with friends.

Writers have long seen the internet as the enemy of productivity and have for years now been putting in place practices that limit their time online while writing.

Novelist Zadie Smith doesn’t have a smartphone while Jonathan Franzen writes in a room without wifi and tapes up the ports on his computers so he is not tempted to connect.

In the Woman of the Hour podcast, Smith said, “If I could control myself online, if I wasn’t going to go down a Beyoncé Google hole for four and a half hours, this wouldn’t be a problem. But that is exactly what I’ll do. It’s not some kind of high moral ground, it’s that I so want to [write], that I just have to get it done. And everything else has to take a backseat.”

Dogs working from home during coronavirus crisis? There’s an Instagram account for that


Australian writer Benjamin Law recommends an app called Forest which turns off your social media and internet for certain lengths of time so you can concentrate deeply. I use a program called Freedom, which blocks off the internet for a period of time that you set (usually three to five hours a day). That time in the early morning, when you’re doing your hard work, is when you should use these tools.

As I’ve seen about a million times on Twitter this week, William Shakespeare wrote King Lear while quarantining from the plague. If you use this time wisely, you could get a lot done. Or at least you could finish your work day faster, so you can get back to reading that book.

Hemingway around 50 years old

This is Christine. Be careful, keep reading, stay well.

Short films on Hemingway Topics at Indiana U

Bicentennial tributes and world premiere events mark IU Cinema’s spring season, See Bold below re: Hem. Best, Christine

Jan. 16, 2020

From world premiere live-music events and the student-produced IU 2020 documentary to a concert film series celebrating the IU Bicentennial, the Indiana University Cinema spring season offers a wide array of film experiences, stirring on-screen performances and engaging in-person conversations. The Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker series, supported by the Ove W Jorgensen Foundation, also returns, bringing internationally known filmmakers to the Bloomington campus.

Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker series

Jorgensen series guests for spring 2020 include:

Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch. Photo courtesy of IU Cinema

Jim Jarmusch, an enigmatic artist who drew inspiration from the East Village of the late 1970s, kicks off the Jorgensen series on Jan. 31. Originally set on being a poet, Jarmusch dabbled in multiple art forms, including music and eventually film.

His 15 feature films — nine of which will be screened as part of the series in January and February, including “Dead Man” with Johnny Depp and “Paterson” with Adam Driver — create an oeuvre with distinct characteristics and style, and a focus on the beauty and mystery of life’s little details.

Bora Kim and KyungMook Kim

February’s Jorgensen series event features Korean filmmakers Bora Kim and KyungMook Kim (no relation), who will visit campus Feb. 10.

After its premiere at the Busan International Film Festival, Bora Kim’s debut feature “House of Hummingbird” earned 35 awards from prestigious international film festivals, including the Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature at the 2019 Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. KyungMook Kim’s films, exploring the precarity of marginalized groups, have received awards in numerous international film festivals.

The filmmakers will be joined by IU alumnus Darcy Paquet, one of South Korea’s most prominent film critics and the creator of the website koreanfilm.org. Coinciding with the Feb. 10 appearance, the series “Emerging Korean Storytellers: Bora Kim and KyungMook Kim” will feature screenings of “House of Hummingbird” on Feb. 9 and 10 and “Stateless Things” on Feb. 9.

Hugo Perez

On March 27, the Jorgensen series welcomes writer/director Hugo Perez. An award-winning documentary filmmaker, Perez will share his experiences producing documentaries in Cuba, making the transition from nonfiction to fiction filmmaking.

The program will include screenings of several of his short films, including “The Old Man and Hemingway,” a portrait of 100-year-old Gregorio Fuentes, Ern

est Hemingway’s boat captain in Cuba. With presentations March 26 and 27, the accompanying series, “Hugo Perez: All That Still Matters,” offers a rare opportunity to see the director’s work on the big screen and is programmed in partnership with the Writers Guild of Bloomington through IU Cinema’s Creative Collaborations program.

Isabel Sandoval

The Museum of Modern Art has cited Isabel Sandoval as a “rarity among the young generation of Filipino filmmakers” for her “muted, serene aesthetic.” She is the first transgender director to compete at the Venice and BFI London film festivals, with the New York-set trans immigrant drama “Lingua Franca.” Sandoval will be on campus April 6.

Man uses camera.
Ken Jacobs will close out the spring Jorgensen series with “Ken Jacobs: Little Stabs at Happiness” and “Ken Jacobs 2D Shorts Program.” Photo courtesy of IU Cinema

Ken Jacobs

Ken Jacobs will close the spring Jorgensen series in April. Jacobs is an experimental filmmaker who helped spearhead the American avant-garde film movement. His impressive filmography spans more than 60 years and 45 films, using just about every experimental technique imaginable.

“Ken Jacobs: Little Stabs at Happiness” includes screenings of “Ken Jacobs 2D Shorts Program” and an appearance by Jacobs on April 24 and “Star Spangled to Death” on April 25.

Visit Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Series on the IU Cinema website for the full list of events, times, locations and ticket information.

World premieres

IU Cinema’s spring season features four live-music events, three of which are world premieres.

“Presenting live-music events and fostering new creative work are signature parts of IU Cinema’s program,” said Jon Vickers, founding director of IU Cinema. “We are fortunate to have such great partners in the Jacobs School of Music, coupled with dedicated patrons and donors who value the unique cinematic experiences of premiering new music, films and restorations.”

Hemingway’s Typewriter: you can own it (maybe) Auction tomorrow Feb 26!

I’m quoting from Kathleen McWilliam of The Hartford Courant‘s article. I added some photos. This looks like fun. Best, Christine

Standing and Writing
Hem Standing and typing when back bad after the plane crashes

An online auction hosted by Westport-based University Archives later this month will feature 288 items of historical significance including typewriters belonging to Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway. The items will be auctioned off online on February 26 and it is expected that the typewriters owned by Kerouac and Hemingway will be popular among buyers. There are also items belonging to Andrew Carnegie, George Gershwin, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Harry Houdini.

“I do think that the typewriters are particularly interesting, said John Reznikoff, President of the University Archives). They kind of speak to you when you’re looking at them. You know those literary icons used these to create their greatest works.”

Can you ever forgive me? The typewriter

Other items include Gordon Bryant’s portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald signed by the author, a letter written and signed by astronaut Neil Armstrong and a same-day eyewitness account from the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890. Reznikoff, who was born in Hartford and raised in West Hartford until his family moved to Stamford, founded University Archives in 1979.

Hemingway’s typewriter. For the starting price of $16,000, bidders can purchase Hemingway’s circa 1950s “Royal” manual typewriter that he used to write his memoir A Moveable Feast. The typewriter is valued at between $50,000 and $100,000.

Hem’s view while writing in Idaho

The typewriter according to University Archives was given to Hemingway by fellow writer A.E. Hotchner. Hotchner, who lives in Westport – actually he just died a couple of weeks ago – met Hemingway in the spring of 1948 when he was assigned to write an article for Cosmopolitan Magazineon the future of literature. Hemingway returned the typewriter to Hotchner in 1960 and it remained one of the writer’s treasured possession. “I’ve been in the business 41 years and a lot of items come to me because of my reputation,” Reznikoff said. “For instance, the Hemingway typewriter came from an author A.E. Hotchner who was 103 and still very sharp. He called me up and said he needed to sell his last things. I’ve known him for 30 years and I’ve done appraisals for him, so he came to me.”

So for those of you out there who have an $50,000 to $100,000, go for it.