Two Hemingways (22)

I just read the chapter in Natalie Goldberg’s book where she visits Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West. She describes his attic studio with big windows and a “palpable presence.” She hears tourists gasp behind her. They feel it, too. Now that my short story has won his granddaughter’s contest, I feel connected to Hemingway, as well. I didn’t remember this chapter, but now it lights me up. Natalie talks about how he “cared about the sun and the gradation of light,” and I think: me, too. Me, too. I’ve bought his granddaughter’s memoir, Walk on Water. It’s sitting by the window on my kitchen table. And I will need to read the grandfather’s work now, as well. It is his name, his blood, that is my entrance into the literary world. I want to honor it. I want to know them both, fellow writers. I didn’t know he killed himself, or I’d forgotten. I only know I’ve had a great fondness for him for almost 40 years, ever since I fell in love with Gertrude Stein. I adopted her love for Hemingway. Now I take on Natalie Goldberg’s, too. I want direct knowledge. I want to stand in that attic studio with the Florida light falling through the windows. Maybe I will go to Idaho and stand beside his grave. Or maybe I will read The Sun Also Rises when I am walking the camino de Santiago across northern Spain, and I will visit Pamplona and stand in the room where he wrote and feel him there, this century later. And I will whisper to him that I used to think I was Gertrude Stein in another life. I will tell him about the uncanny light I fell in love with in the mountains of Jalisco. And I will thank him again and again for Lorian, for this granddaughter who loves my work.

4 thoughts on “Two Hemingways (22)

  1. I didn’t find a way to work this in here, Laurie, but reading Natalie Goldberg has always been my way to feel part of the world of writers. She is really clear about this, I think, and how important it is. I’d like to write more about it one day.

    Thanks! :)

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