Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Hemingway Himself

This post is for me. For safekeeping.

Years ago I read this snippet from Hemingway in the preface of my son's copy of A Moveable Feast.  Succinct and so Hemingway, it just struck me. Hard. I don't really know why anymore than that the sentence perfectly exhibits Hemingway to me, his style of writing. For some reason I laugh out loud every time I read it. When reading it out loud to my family, I laugh. They laugh. But do they laugh because I laugh, or do they get the same impression as I? Who knows. We do, however, oft repeat, ". . . and the ring was in the garden," when the subject of Papa comes up.

I dislike the book. I dislike the liberties Hemingway takes with people who were good to him, considered him an intimate friend. He was untruthful as well as unkind. A sad way to treat people. He paid for it for they, as forgiving as they were, never thought of him quite the same again.

Here is the passage, my favorite part in italics:

"For reasons sufficient to the writer, many places, people, observations and impressions have been left out of this book. Some were secrets and some were known by everyone and everyone has written about them and will doubtless write more.

There is no mention of the Stage Anastasie where the boxers served as waiters at the tables set out under the trees and the ring was in the garden.  Nor of training with Larry Gains, nor the great twenty-round fights at the Cirque d'Hiver. Nor of such good friends as Charlie Sweeny, Bill Bird and Mike Strater, nor of Andre Masson and Miro. There is no mention of our voyages to the Black Forest or of our one-day explorations of the forests that we loved around Paris.

The five people seated at the table, left to right are: Gerald Murphy
Sara Murphy, Pauline Pfeiffer, Ernest and Hadley Hemingway in
Pamplona, Spain, summer 1926
It would be fine if all these were in this book but we will have to do without them for now. If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact."

Ernest Hemingway, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba 1960

This little personal post shall sit here, for me, just in case I need to get the quote right.

And the ring was in the garden.