Monday, May 9, 2016

Papa Hemingway


        I digressed this morning from trying to find a recipe for cooking stone ground yellow grits in order to read up on Hemingway.  
         I saw the film "Papa Hemingway" last night, about Hemingway's life in Cuba.  At the time, he was married to his fourth wife, Mary Walsh Hemingway.
       The film touched on a supposedly true story.  A reporter for the Miami Globe, felt that Hemingway's books had given his life meaning and purpose.  That reporter's name was Ed Myers.
        As a child in the 1930's, he was orphaned, like so many other children during the Great Depression.  He felt that Hemingway's novels gave his life a framework, and ignited his love of writing.  After writing Hemingway a heartfelt letter, he was surprised to get a phone call from the great author, invited him to go on  a fishing trip.
        Thus began a friendship that lasted until the end of Hemingway's life about two years later.  The two went on fishing trips, drank at parties at the Floridita, and at one point, Myers helped to save Hemingway's life.
         Around this time, Hemingway was starting to become unglued.  He drank heavily, had a violent temper, and felt that he wanted to die because he could "no longer write or screw."  Indeed, an entire morning could go by where he had not written anything.
         He was sent to the Mayo for shock treatments after moving back to Idaho.  It's unkown whether the treatments helped or not.  But not long after that, he took his rifle and killed himself.
         I remember when Heminingway  died.  It happened when I was about 11.  How could I know about Hemingway?  I guess that he was such a larger than life character that it was just about impossible not to know about him.  I remember feeling how tragic this all was, even at such a young age.  I'd never heard of anyone killing themselves before.  But there it was, in the afternoon paper's headline.
         Hemingway had four wives, and the last one was Mary.  They partied hard and the years were not kind to Mary in the last years of her life.  She died in 1986 at 78.
         I'm not sure how I feel about Hemingway.  He seems like a man's writer as so many of his themes revolve around war and killing.  He himself was a hunter.  But perhaps his stories have a universal theme as they are known throughout the world.

A film review can be read by clicking the link below.


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