FLOTSAM & JETSAM: Ernest Hemingway

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ernest Hemingway

Sam Smith - Ernest Hemingway committed suicide fifty years ago this month. You can read a lot about that and his life in the media, but not so much about one reason he mattered: he knew how to write. As Robert Roper wrote in Obit Magazine. “He has come close to being remembered as much for his death as for his work, a terrible fate for a writer.”

I come from a generation that still remembers Hemingway as a writer. As I once put it, “I devoured Ernest Hemingway because his stories were tough and melancholic and he didn't gush adjectives, metaphors and similes like so many of the writers we were meant to admire. In The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, he said that some things lose their meaning when they get all mouthed up. I appreciated the way he didn't use words as much as the way he did.”

Hemingway put it this way, "The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A good writer does not need to reveal every detail of a character or action."

And: “My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way."

And: “Never confuse movement with action."