Saturday, November 12, 2011

Great Men Are Also Humble

A fellow writer and much published poet, Terresa Haskew, loaned me "Conversations with Ernest Hemingway," which is a compilation of interviews edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli. There is, of course, very good advice and awareness about the writing process in these views of the man and his thoughts, but it is his philosophy and way of being that has provoked my deep admiration.

One quote on politics mentioned that whenever he got near politics, which he didn't like to talk about, he felt like he was drinking from a spittoon. (With his great love of drink, that means so much more...;).)

One obsevation of love: “Love has its limits, but when it is given, it is given for keeps though awful things may happen to it.”

Here's another direct quote, 1954, on receiving the Nobel Prize: "As a Nobel Prize winner I cannot but regret that the award was never given to Mark Twain, nor to Henry James, speaking only of my countrymen. Greater writers than these also did not receive the prize.I would have been happy -- happier -- today if the prize had gone to that beautiful writer Isak Dinesen, or to Bernard Berenson, who has devoted a lifetime to the most lucid and best writing on painting that has been produced, and I would have been most happy to know that the prize had been awarded to Carl Sandburg."

Years later he would only refer to it as 'that Swedish thing.' Clearly, he wrote because he had to, not for the recognition and awards of the world.

I wish I could share his whole acceptance speech, which was read for him by the then U.S. Ambassador to Sweden...but instead, I will just tell you it is on the last page. If you love Hemingway's writing or just have an interest in finding out who he really was, beyond the myths, I do recommend this book!

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