The only thing better than enjoying a cocktail on a brisk wintery night in West End (The Brisbane variety), is enjoying a cocktail that someone famous used to drink – on a less brisk winter night. Yes – hold back your envy, I left my loungeroom for a ‘Hemingway Special’. I think this is how he attained all of his genius – through a simple blend of Bacardi, Maraschino, lime, and a maraschino cherry to make it look super special. Okay it did have white grapefruit juice as well, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t around when Hemingway was – But I’m not ready for that kind of commitment. Anyway I sat there drinking liquid genius out of a martini glass, feeling my creativity levels…stay exactly the same.
“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m
awake, you know?”
I’ve always been a fan of Hemingway – not so much his work, but the most amazing quotable lines and anecdotes. I’ll share my favourite for you – the story of the story in a sentence. Old mate Ernest was drinking in a bar – probably the Hemingway special minus the grapefruit juice and his friend (let’s assume it was Scott Fitzgerald, I hear they were tight) challenges him to write a story in a single sentence. Hemmingway’s response? “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”
Despite this being an excellent story, don’t go telling it around the campfire to non-literary friends. They will stare blankly at you. “I don’t get it.” I usually proceed to ask them why the baby shoes were never worn, but they don’t want to play. Hemingway isn’t for everyone.
“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit, I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”
Not to spoil such a great story, but one day in a literary lecture, I was shown an image of a newspaper around that time. In the sales section was the quote. Or similar anyway. Hemingway probably saw it and read further into it than the salesman intended. Spoils it a bit I know. Let’s pretend I never said it. Tell it around the campfire later – lord it over your non-literary friends. Be as condescending as possible when you repeat it.
“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.”
images sourced from tumblr