Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Moveable Feast - How Hemingway Did It

I love magazines - they are so easy to read, taking much less attention and commitment than books. Read what interests you and leave the rest - an easy accomplishment. Last month, one of my lady magazines (not sure if it was Good Housekeeping or Redbook) had a book excerpt from the new book, The Paris Wife. I had already heard about the book - it's getting a lot of buzz.

Can't wait to read more of this book...

Told in first person in the voice of Hemingway's first wife Hadley, the little chunk got me right away. The charismatic, handsome, idealistic young rogue was nothing like the cranky, depressed, angry Hemingway that I always conceptualized him as. He was young, madly in love, and they were in Paris. I put in my request at the library, and I am number 168, or something, in line to get the book. Guess I will have to wait a while for the rest of the story.

Barns and Noble had a little video interview with the Author, Paula McLain. She had written her first book, gotten published, and had no idea what to do for her second book - she found herself bone dry for ideas. She decided to reread A Moveable Feast by Hemingway - his memoir of being a young man in Paris from about 1920 to 1925, and became inspired by the relationship between the young married couple. She didn't even need to invent any plot, since the true story was so compelling.

Before the 'Crank'
I put my request in to the library for A Moveable Feast, and didn't have to wait in line at all for it. What a compelling book - I am munching away at it like a flaky croissant. Half way through it at least, I am really enjoying Hemingway more than I ever have before (although I did like The Sun Also Rises quite a lot in College, but The Old Man and the Sea in High way. Should give it another read I guess).

Of course I am a sucker for truth, for reality, for memoir and real people, oh and also for 1920's Paris too.

What a dreamy cover. I want a poster of this...
So here's the writing bit that I found interesting. Hemingway worked everyday in a little room in Paris, writing until he knew what was going to happen next in his story and stopping there. He knew he was done when he had something more to say the next day, never letting the well completely run dry. Then he would do everything possible to not think about writing until the next day, letting his unconcious deal with the story, allowing the spring to refill the well, ready to write again later.

I seem to have more time to think than write. As I type, my boys are throwing pillow bombs at me. So it is time to sign off and let the well fill, and fill and maybe flow over. Guess the words in my head will get all that water someday!


  1. Linds, Both sound like interesting books! I can't wait to read them. xo

  2. I love the idea of letting the well fill. Sometimes I squeezing water from the stones.
    Great post. Paris Wife sounds intriguing.