Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Moveable Feast

I haven't read much Hemingway since high school but I am reading a new edition of "A Moveable Feast". Published posthumously in 1964, the book is a collection of his personal memoirs of writing in Paris in the 1920's. It gives you a clear portrait of Paris at that time and of some notable writers that Hemingway encountered there such as F.Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein. This edition is supposed to include his complete papers and intentions for the book, not the edited version that his wife Mary published after his death.

Here are some a my favorite sentences from the book. Such pure writing:

Do not worry. you have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.

I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing; but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.

But you knew there would always be spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.
In those days, though, the spring always came finally; but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.

We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.


Daniel Bell said...

Still, in my view, some of the best Hemingway ever wrote. Not just one true sentence, but a book of them.

Rob-bear said...

New light on a great author. Thanks for the word.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I love that book . . . but I think I must have read the edited edition.

I still hurt when I think of his lost satchel of stories.