the importance of
late last year i felt the sudden urge to read hemingway again.
he has always been my favorite writer, which is somewhat odd, because none of his books are on my list of favorite books. i have issues with some of his subject matter, issues with his treatment of women, issues with his views on love.
still, i adore the way he writes, his ability to condense entire stories into one paragraph, to make me not only see it, but feel it, to make everything he wrote seem like it was not fiction, but an autobiographical account of his life.
in fact, some people think that is the case. he has said it was not, and i believe him. but that is why i think he is such a great writer, i never feel like i am reading a story, i am immersed in a tale, a recounting, a snapshot of someone’s life. he knew how to make it seem real.
so i gathered all his books together and waited until the week after christmas to begin. and now here i am, wading my way through his body of work, in chronological order. and all i want to do is read.
in the past week i have been to spain and italy, france and michigan, to horse races and bull fights. i’ve gone fishing and to war. i haven’t yet been to africa, that will come later, and i will fall in love with that place all over again.
i will love the heat and the dust and the wine and even the machismo. when i was young, i hated that part. i won’t love the scenes with the animals, that has always been the hardest for me.
but i can read him now with one eye on the story, and one eye on the craft. i can appreciate the gift he left to the world, flawed as he may have been as a person.
i can appreciate the magic of a phrase like true at first light.
or a story that draws me in and won’t let me go until the last page has been turned, and even then, leaves me wishing for more.
a story that can transport me to another time and another place, even as i sit in a noisy room filled with people.
a story that is written so well that not one word could be altered or removed without compromising its integrity.
the kind of stories that have always made me want to read.
what more can you ask of a writer?