Key West: Hangin’ with Hemingway

In my last post, I mentioned that I was recently in Key West, soaking up the sea and much longed-for time with family. I got to swim in turquoise waters, stuff myself silly with seafood, and wander streets lined with tropical trees and homes that, to my untrained eye, blended the beach architecture of my childhood with southern-Victorian and Spanish styles.

But of course, no writer’s visit to Key West would be complete without a stop at one house in particular: The Hemingway Home and Museum.

I’m always a bit embarrassed to admit this–after all, I have a Masters in English and American literature–but I haven’t actually read all that much Hemingway. I did read his “Hills like White Elephants,” a short story that exemplifies Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory (the concept of writing around a particular subject–here abortion–without ever explicitly naming it). But my research emphasis in my degree was Romantic, Victorian, and Post-Colonial British literature, and Early American and 19th-century literature. Chronologically-speaking, Hemingway came a little too late for me.

But a few years ago, I picked up Paula McLain’s historical, Hemingway-themed novel, The Paris Wife. Obviously, this book is A) fiction (and therefore, a not-necessarily-rigidly-factual interpretation of history) and B) more focused on Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson, than Hemingway himself.

Continue reading “Key West: Hangin’ with Hemingway”

While poking around on Gloria Chao’s blog, I found the following quote in a writing-journey-related guest post by Meredith Ireland:

“My first thank you is to my husband for putting up with my bathrobe clad, coffee mug holding, writer self. His faith in me never wavered even when mine did.”

I wish the picture Ireland paints here was an exaggeration. But given the fact that I didn’t brush my teeth on Saturday until 2 PM because I was too busy writing, I can’t protest too loudly.

So instead, I’ll underline and boldface that “thank you.” I know living with someone who talks to characters like they’re real, and sometimes frequently constantly frets about whether she’s talented enough to make this whole “writing thing” work (no matter how many publication credits I’ve accumulated) can’t be fun. But Baby, you handle it with panache.


*Featured image is property of Kelli Russell Agodon.

Calligraphy & Character

This week at the Consulate, one of the local Chinese staff complimented my handwriting. She said it was beautiful, then added (incredibly sweetly): “Just like you!”

I’m not sure such glowing praise was warranted, but it led to my friend sharing with me one of China’s ancient idioms:

Zì rú qí rén.

Or, in its more stunning native script:

Character Like2Translation? “The character is like the person.”

In other words: Someone’s writing, the physical style of their words, is a reflection of the author’s being. Beautiful writing evidences a beautiful psyche; strained writing is the exterior reflection of a tormented interior. Continue reading “Calligraphy & Character”