Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Month: September 2016 (page 1 of 6)

It’s Time for the Test – Submitting Work for Publication

blog_memoir_find_your_past_jacki_kellum

 Tomorrow Is October 1 – The Day that I Launch the Free Jacki Kellum Writing Class

It is also the day that I am submitting my first writing for publication.

About the Free Jacki Kellum Writing Class Blog to Memoir:

For several weeks, I have been saying that because I began seriously writing  on October 1, 2015, I decided to celebrate that anniversary by offering a free writing class for anyone who wants to participate.

I’ll run the free writing class through my blog site jackikellum.com Here
& through the site that I specifically created for the class: blogtomemoir.com. Here

Each day,  I’ll post the daily assignment by 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time USA. I believe that early morning is the best time to write and for that reason, your writing assignment will be ready for you first thing each day.

Why Blog to Memoir?

  1. When we write about the actual experiences of our lives, our writing is fresher, more alive, and more authentic. For that reason, excavating your memories is an invaluable exercise–a way to create vivid writing samples for any of your other writing.
  2. It is not necessary for you to actually blog your writing. You may simply check out the daily writing exercises and explore them on your own. Throughout the course, however, I’ll share several ways that blogging daily has improved both my writing and my outlook on life. I heartily recommend writing daily, and for several reasons, I am convinced that blogging is the best way to store your writing. Blogging regularly is also a good way to build your brand and to share your writing with others. Note: You do not have to make your blog public.
  3. Several people have successfully completed books by blogging the parts of their books one by one and then, by assembling the parts of the book at the end. This practice has been labeled Blog to Book. For the past year, I have been blogging my memoir [and several other books] one step at a time. Soon, I plan to assemble my memoir pieces together and to submit my own memoir book for publication. Hence: I Am Blogging to Memoir  Book

For the past year, I have blogged something almost daily. I have written several first drafts, and now, it is time to take my first test. Tomorrow, on October 1, I am submitting a section of my own memoir for publication. As I said before, October 1, 2016, is a very big day. It is the day that I am launching my free writing class through which I’ll share what I have learned about writing. It is also the day that I’ll test myself by daring to submit something for publication.

fragile-seld-esteem-1000

Writing is simple for me. I love to talk, and when I write, I simply talk. Submitting my writing for publication is something different. When I submit what I have written to a panel of official judges, I am giving those judges the permission to say that what I have written is not good enough. I am allowing this band of impartial readers to say, “You are not a writer. You are simply playing at writing.” I am giving other people the opportunity to either approve me or to reject me. For me, this is scary business, but I have passed all of the steps leading up to the next one. It is time.

barnes-noble

It is time for me to step out of the pool of pretenders and to begin swimming toward the shore.

Tomorrow, I am submitting my first piece for publication. I am daring to take the test. This time next year, I’ll whistle for everyone else to joing me, “Come on out. The water is fine.”

©Jacki Kellum September 30, 2016

Test

Is Lying in Memoirs Cheating? On Denial, Lying, and Wearing Facades

The very popular book A Million Little Pieces was published as a Memoir, but later, it was exposed as a lie.  The same thing happened with the book Primates of Park Avenue. In fact, several books that have been published as Memoirs have been exposed as fabrications. Your first question might be Why?

Question: Why Would Anyone Publish A Book of Lies and Call It A Memoir?

Answer: Memoirs are popular and they fare well on the market

In her book The Art of Memoir, Mary Karr suggests that because of the rising popularity of memoirs, some have jumped on the bandwagon of memoir writing, simply to ride it for a better chance at sales. That is sleazy, but I feel better for those memoir-writing liars than I do for the people whose lies in memoirs are simply extensions of their facades.

Mary Karr Challenges the Memoirist to be Truthful

Although Karr defends a writer’s freedom, she says that she is irritated by writers who sell their lies as truth. She challenges Vivian Gornick’s opinion that whether or not she embellishes her stories is nobody’s business:

“It niggles the hell out of me never to know exactly what parts the fabricators have fudged….

“Well, if I forked over a cover price for nonfiction, I consider it my business. While it’s great she owned up to her deceits, it’s hard to lend credence to any after-the-fact confession….”

“So here I stand with my little stick, attempting to draw a line in the dirt for the sake of memoir’s authenticity. Truth may have become a foggy, fuzzy nether area. But untruth is simple: making up events with the intention to deceive…..You know the difference between a vague memory and a clear one, and the vague ones either get left out or labeled dubious. It’s the clear ones that matter most anyway, because they’re the ones you’ve nursed and worried over and talked through and wondered about your whole life. And you’re  seeking the truth of memory–your memory and character–not of unbiased history. ” Karr, Mary  The Art of Memoir, pgs.10-11.

Our Denials Impact Our Memoir Writing

To a certain extent, all of us delude ourselves. We do that every day, and we call that phenomenon Denial.  I write about Denial quite often. When we begin to write our memoirs, our writings might reflect some of the partial truths that have been tainted by our own delusions, but that is not the same thing as blatantly lying in one’s memoir.

I am well into the process of writing my memoir, and I am painfully aware that I wasted several years of my life, wearing a facade and because of that, there has always been an enormous duality about my existence. Even as a young child, I was aware that there was something different about me. Probably before I even went to school, I realized that I was thinking about and noticing things that other people did not seem to note. By the time that I was in school, I was becoming quite sure that the other kids and I were living in 2 different worlds. Yet, I was a very social child. I wanted people to like me. I wanted to fit in; and because of that, I became 2 different people.

I well remember 6th grade. The science teacher was talking about taste buds; and on that day, I dared to actually try to express what was on my mind. I said, “I wonder if everyone’s taste buds taste the same way. I wonder if a carrot tastes the same way to me as it does to you.”

Everyone else in the room snickered, and the teacher’s face glazed over.

I didn’t get an answer, but I became convinced of what I had always suspected. People just didn’t get me.

For the world, I became Miss Congeniality, but deep inside, I was someone else. It took many years for me to accept that other-else, but over time, she became my best friend-a friend that other people might only imagine was there. The best thing about growing older is that all of the me’s have shifted around. Now, the creative-me–who was formerly the closet-me and only a whisper within my own mind–has become the REAL me; and the other-me–the social-butterfly-me–has been laid to rest. Don’t get me wrong. I still do fun things, but now, I do the things that I truly enjoy and that are meaningful to me. Writing has helped me to distinguish who I really am and what I honestly enjoy.

Hiding in Plain Sight
by Jacki Kellum

Smiling, Joking, Dancing, Free
That’s the Social Side of Me.

Tossing kisses from my car,
Scared, Confused Alone We Are.

If you look, you will see
The Scared, Confused and Social Three.

People Who Lie In Memoirs Deny Themselves of the Therapeutic Benefit of Writing

The memoir writer who lies in his writing is missing the greatest advantage of writing memoir–the therapeutic advantage of writing, but that therapeutic advantage comes with a cost.

In her book The Art of Memoir, Karr also discusses the toll that memoir writing takes on the writer:

“But nobody I know who’s written a great one described it as anything less than a major-league shit-eating contest. Any time you try to collapse the distance between your delusions about the past and what really happened, there’s suffering involved. When I’m trying to edit or coach somebody through one, I usually wind up feeling like the mean sergeant played by Tom Berenger in Platoon. He’s leaning over a screaming soldier whose guts are extruding, and in a husky whisper, Berenger says through gritted teeth, ‘Take the pain,’ till the guy shuts up and mechanically starts stuffing his guts back in.

“No matter how self-aware you are, memoir wrenches at your insides precisely because it makes you battle with your very self–your neat analyses and tidy excuses….

“In terms of cathartic affect memoir is like therapy, the difference being that in therapy, you pay them. The therapist is the mommy, and you’re the baby, In memoir, you’re the mommy, and the reader’s the baby. And–hopefully–they pay you. (‘No man but a blockhead ever wrote for any cause but money,’ Samuel Johnson said). ” Karr, Mary  The Art of Memoir, pgs. xx-xi.

If We Write Memoir for Therapeutic Reasons, We Cheat Ourselves of Therapy When We Lie

Mary Karr adds the following about the writer’s need to be truthful in writing memoir:

“Forget how inventing stuff breaks a contract with the reader, it fences the memoirist off from the deeper truths that only surface five or ten or twenty. Yoes, you can misinterpret–happens all the time…But unless you’re looking at actual lived experience, the more profound meanings will remain forever shrouded. You’ll never unearth the more complex truths, the ones that counter that convenient first take on the past. A memoirist forging false tales to support his more comfortable notions–or to pump himself up for the audience–never learns who he is. He’s missing the personal liberation that comes from the examined life. …

“But whether you’re a memoirist or not, there’s a psychic cost for lopping yourself off from the past: it may continue to tug on you without your being aware of it. And lying about it can–for all but the most hardened sociopath–carve a lonely gap between your disguise and who you really are. The practiced liar also projects her own manipulative, double-dealing facade onto everyone she meets, which makes moving through the world a wary, anxious enterprise. It’s hard enough to see what’s going on without forcing yourself to look through the wool you’ve pulled over your own eyes.”  Karr, Mary  The Art of Memoir, pgs. 11-12.

In summary, I toss my hat into the ring with the people who believe that lying in memoir writing is cheating. I believe that the lying memoirist cheats his reader, but more importantly than that, I believe that the lying memoirist cheats himself.

©Jacki Kellum September 29, 2016

Facade

Writing about Houses and Objects Inside Houses -Quotes from the Book Great House by Nicole Krauss

Please Note: The following summary is a spoiler. My primary reason for studying this book was to note how an object of furniture can play a significant role in both a story and a book. I also read this book as a study of books told from multiple perspectives.

On one level, Nicole Krauss’s book Great House is about an old writing desk that had nineteen drawers. On another level, the book is a series of stories about the family who had originally owned the desk, and the desk becomes the  common thread of the stories. Great House is told from multiple perspectives.

I Part 1 of the book and in the subsection “All Rise,” the year is 1972 and Nadia, a writer, acquires the desk from the fictional Chilean poet Daniel Varsky, who suggests that the desk may originally have belonged to Lorca, who was an actual person.

In 1972, Nadia takes possession of Varsky’s furniture, including his desk. She had recently divorced, and she had no furniture. She agreed to keep Varsky’s furniture until he returned for it.

A few years later, Varsky was assassinated.

In 1999, a person claiming to be named Leah Weisz and the daughter of Daniel Varsky called, saying that she wanted to reclaim her father’s desk.

While waiting for the person who called herself Leah to come and take the desk away, Nadia realizes that the desk was more than a piece of furniture to her and says the following about it:

“I looked across the room at the wooden desk at which I had written seven novels, and on whose surface, in the cone of light cast by a lamp, lay the piles of pages and notes that were to constitute an eighth. One drawer was slightly ajar, one of the nineteen drawers, some small and some large, whose odd number and strange array, I realized now, on the cusp of their being suddenly taken from me, had come to signify a kind of guiding if mysterious order in my life, an order than when m work was going well, took on an almost mystical quality. Nineteen drawers of varying size some below the desktop and some above, whose [p. 30] mundane occupations (stamps here, paper clips there) had a far more complex design, the blueprint of the mind formed over tens of thousands of days of thinking while staring at them, as if they held the conclusion to a stubborn sentence, the culminating phrase, the radical break from everything I had ever written that would at last lead to the book I had always wanted, and always failed, to write. Those drawers represented a singular logic deeply embedded, a pattern of consciousness that could be articulated in no other way but their precise number and arrangement.” Krauss, Nicole. Great House, pgs. 30-31.

The second Segment, “True Kindness,” introduces Dov, Dov’s son, and Dov’s brother Uri. In this segment, we are also introduced to the house:

“WE STOOOD in the hall of the house that had once been all of our house, a house that had been filled with life, every last room of it brimming with laughter, arguments, tears, dust the smell of food, pain, desire, anger, and silence, too, the tightly coiled silence of people pressed up against each other in what is called a family.” Krauss, Nicole. Great House, p. 106.

The brothers leave the house, and twenty-five years later, one returns:

“And just like that you walked back into the house that you had left so long ago. I heard your footsteps slowly ascend the stairs.

“Were they the lepers, Dov, those other kids? It that why you held yourself apart? Or was it you And the two of us, closed up together in this house–are the saved or the condemned?”

“A long silence while you must have stood at the threshold of your old room. Then the creak of the floorboards, and the sound of your door closing again after twenty-five years.”  Krauss, Nicole. Great House, p. 113.

In the third section, “Swimming Holes,” we discover that the desk is in the apartment of Lotte Berg, who lived in England. Her apartment overlooked a section of bombed ruins:  

“Many times I saw Lotte staring at those ruins with their solitary chimneys. The first time I visited her room I was amazed at how little was in it. She’d been in England for almost ten years by then, but, aside from her desk, there were only a few sticks of plain furniture, and much later I came to understand that in a certain way the walls and ceiling of her own room were as nonexistent to here as those across the street.

” Her desk, however, was something else entirely. In that simple, small room it overshadowed everything else like some sort of grotesque, threatening monster, clinging to most of one wall and bullying the other pathetic bit of furniture to the far corner, where they seemed to cling together, as if under some sinister magnetic force. It was made of dark wood and above the writing surface was a wall of drawers, drawers of totally impractical sizes, like the desk of a medieval sorcerer. Except that every last drawer was empty, something that I discovered one evening while waiting for Lotte, who had gone down the hall to use the lavatory, and which somehow made the desk, the specter of that enormous desk, really more like a ship than a desk, a ship riding a pitch-black sea in the dead of a moonless night with no hope of land in any direction, even more unnerving. It [p. 126] was, I always thought, a very masculine desk. At times, or from time to time when I came to  pick her up, I even felt a kind of strange, inexplicable jealousy overtake me when she opened the door and there, hovering behind her, threatening to swallow her up, was that tremendous body of furniture.

“‘One day I got up the courage to ask her where she had found it. She was as poor as a church mouse….her answer plunged me into despair: It was a gift, she said. …nothing more was said on the subject.” Krauss, Nicole. Great House, pgs. 126-27.

Lotte moves into the apartment of her lover [the narrator of this section], who had hoped that she would leave the desk behind, but she did not.

“I heard a pounding at the door, and there it was, resting on the landing, its dark, almost ebony, wood gleaming with a vengeance.”  Krauss, Nicole. Great House, p. 130.

A young man named Daniel Varsky visited Lotte, and she gave the desk to him. Lotte’s lover didn’t undertand why, but he discovered that Lotte had given up her own son who was about the same age as Daniel Varsky.

In the fourth section, the year is 1998, and  Isabel oIzzy, the narrator of this story, meets and falls in love with Yoav Weisz. Yoav and his sister Leah were living in England in a Victorian house owned by their father George Weisz. He was an antique dealer, and he spent most of his time traveling to buy antiques. While the father was away, the narrator lived in the house with Yoav and Leah. 

The father is haunted by memories of his own childhood home before the Nazis took away his parents and stole its lavish furnishings. George Weisz is obsessed with finding all of the furniture again. George Weisz discovers that Nadia has the desk in New York, and He sent Leah there to reclaim it.

During this segment, we discover that Leah and Yoav’s mother had died when Leah was seven and Yoav was eight. For years, their father essentially locked them in their home and removed them from society. During this time, the family moved a lot, and the family’s lifestyle becomes questionable.

We discover in this section that George Weisz uses a walking stick that has a silver ram at the top. 

At the beginning of Part Two the brothers Uri and Dov are living in Israel. Cov has become increasingly sullen, and people like Uri. Do announces that he is moving to England. In this segment, Dov and Uri’s father is the narrator, and he expresses his grief about how Do had become more and more disenchanted with and withdrawn from life. The father comments that Dov had even given up on his decision to beDov and Uri’s father is a judge, and from the time that we first met Nadia, she seems to be telling her story to a judge.

In the second segment of Part Two, “All Rise,” Nadia has gone to Jerusalem. It seems that she has a need to reconnect with the desk, and Leah had left her address as living at Ha’Oren Street in Israel.

In Israel, Nadia meets a young man named Adam, who she thinks looks very much like Daniel Varsky. She also thought that Leah had looked like Varsky. Adam becomes Nadia’s driver and drives her to the address at Ha’Oren Street. The man there says that he doesn’t know anything about the desk, and that no one named Leah is at his house. That man is Leah’s father George Weisz. He walks with Weisz’s walking stick.

Adam robs Nadia, and Nadia, in turn, takes Adam’s roommate’s car and begins driving. En route, she runs over the judge, who is now in the hospital. Nadia is at his bedside telling him this story.

In the next segment of Part Two, also titled “Swimming Holes,” Lotte dies and her husband of fifty years begins consulting a man name Gottlieb about the creation of his will. The lover tells Gottlieb about Lotte’s desk:

“To call it a desk is to say too little. The word conjures some homely, unassuming article of the work or domesticity, a selfless and practical object that is always poised to offer up its back for its owner to make use of, and which, when not in use, occupies its allotted space with humility. Well, I told Gottlieb, you can cancel that image immediately. This desk was something else entirely: an enormous, foreboding thing that bore down on the occupants of the room in inhabited, pretending to be inanimate but, like a Venus flytrap, ready to pounce on them and digest them via one of its many little terrible drawers. Perhaps you think I’m making a caricature of it. I don’t blame you. You’d have to have seen the desk with your own eyes to understand that what I’m telling you is perfectly [p. 370] accurate. It took up almost half of her rented room. The first time she allowed me to stay the night with her in that tiny pathetic bed that cowered in the shadow of the desk, I woke up in a cold sweat. It loomed above us, a dark and shapeless form.”  Krauss, Nicole. Great House, pgs. 370-71.

Lotte’s husband wants Gottlieb to find Lotte’s son, and Gottlieb did find the names and address of the people who had adopted the child. Lotte’s husband, who is finally named Arthur Bender, goes to Liverpool to try to meet the son, but when he speak’s to the adoptive mother, the mother tells Bender that her son had died twenty-seven years earlier.

In the end, George Weisz realizes that his daughter Lotte had double-crossed him and that instead of delivering the desk to her father in Israel, she had hid it from him by  locking it in a New York City Storage Unit. George Weisz tracks down the address where the desk is stored, he pays $1,000 to spend only one hour with the desk:

“I opened the door. The room was cold, and had no window. For an instant I almost believed I would find my father stooped over the desk, his pen moving across the page. But the tremendous desk stood alone, mute and uncomprehending. Three or four drawers hung open, all of them empty. But the one I locked as a child, sixty-six years later was locked still. I reached out and touched the surface of the desk. There were a few scratches, but otherwise those who had sat at it had left no mark. ” Krauss, Nicole. Great House, p. 431.

©Jacki Kellum September 28, 2016

Jacki Kellum Read This Book September 28, 2016

Gladstone Said that Time Is On Our Side But I Disagree

William E. Gladstone said Time Is On Our Side, but I Disagree.

Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones sang the same song–that Time Is On Our Side–but I still disagree. It is almost October, and in New Jersey, the days and nights are getting cooler. Chily raindrops are beginning to fall, and I am peering into the 66th winter of my own life. As I begin to watch the leaves drifting  to the ground, I know that  the trees’ skeletal fingers will soon scratch into the sky, and I understand that the leaves of my own life are also falling and I too am moving toward winter. Yet, there is much that I still want to do, and I do not feel that time is on my side.

I was 15-years-old when The Rolling Stones released the song Time Is On My Side. That year was 1965. When I was 15-years-od, I believed that Time WAS on My Side, but I don’t feel that way now. Now, I feel as though Time is a luxury, and the tragedy is that I wasted an enormous amount of time in the process of discovering that truth. As Joni Mitchell says, “So Many Things I Would Have Done, but Clouds Got In My Way….[but] I’ve Looked at Clouds from Both Sides Now.”

Both Sids Now
by Joni Mitchell
Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
When I consider that Joni Mitchell was only 24-years-old when Judy Collins first released her song Both Sides Now, the lyrics amaze me. By the time I was 24-years-old, I had already almost died in a car accident that left me with several permanent scars, and in that regard, I had experienced more of life’s bitter truths than most 24-year-olds had discovered, but I still didn’t have a clue about all of the illusions and the delusions that I would eventually unveil. When I was 24-years-old, I still had not seen life from both sides now, and neither had Joni Mitchell.
In another of Joni Mitchell’s brilliant songs, she called life a game–The Circle Game.
The Circle Game
by Joni Mitchell
Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
Joni Mitchell’ song The Circle Game is a masterpiece, but it doesn’t tell the entire story. As soon as the boy reaches the age of twenty, the song ends:
So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty…
There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through.
When I first heard The Circle Game, I was also turning twenty, and frankly, I am glad that I didn’t realize then how much my understanding of that tune would change over the next several years. The greatest of life’s games is that when we are young, we don’t realize how precious the moments and the opportunities of youth actually are. When we are young, we believe that we will be young forever. Unfortunately, that is not true.
One of life’s greatest disappointments lies within discovering that Time itself is an illusion and that living is like chasing after a mirage. We waste too much of our lives looking too far ahead at something that seems to be golden and grand. We believe that the treasure is always just ahead. When we reach the time and place where we believed the treasure had lain, its golden somethingness isn’t there at all. What we had chased was merely a shiny reflection in the sand.
“What was any art but a mould in which to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself – life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose.” – Willa Cather
I don’t want to pretend that art and writing are more than they actually are, but in the almost final analysis, I can honestly say that my ability to create is the way that I begin to make sense of life’s Circle Game, and it is the way that I have managed to slow my own aging process. My writing has been particularly helpful in that regard. I won’t remind everyone of the very true words that youth is wasted on the young. That has been said so very many times and by so very many people that I am not sure who said it first. I’ll merely conclude by saying that Time is a Luxury, and it is a luxury that will eventually run out. Ultimately, everyone stands  in the October of their own lives singing another song: Winter Comes Too Soon.

©Jacki Kellum September 28, 2016

Disagree

The Lost Generation – An A & E Documentary

“America Is My Country. Paris Is My Home Town.” – Gertrude Stein

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” – Ernest Hemingway

Radically Challenging Victorian Tradition

Image result for world war 1 ambulance drivers

Several of the Lost Generation Had Served as Ambulance Drivers in World War I and Became Disillusioned with America.

Many people, especially the creative people, left America to seek a more idyllic lifestyle in Paris.

The expatriates celebrated their newly attained sense of freedom by  partying, dancing, and drinking. It became the Age of Jazz and the Flappers.

1920s Paris became an artistic Bohemia, and the artists had wild costume parties.

Gertrude Stein called the expatriates the Lost Generation.
Hemingway popularized the label.

” ‘All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.’
. . .

“”You have no respect for anything. you drink yourselves to death…’ ” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, p. 29.

Image result for gertrude stein alice toklas home

Gertrude Stein’s Salon Became the Hang Out – 27 Rue de Fleurs
for the Expatriate Artists and Writers  of 1920s Paris

“My wife and I had called on Miss Stein, and she and the friend who lived with her had been very cordial and friendly and we had loved the big studio with the great paintings. It was like one of the best rooms in the finest museum except [p. 13] there was a big fireplace and it was warm and comfortable and they gave you good things to eat and tea and natural distilled liqueurs made from purple plums, yellow plums or wild raspberries. These were fragrant, colorless alcohols served from cut-glass carafes in small glasses…they all tasted like the fruits they came from, converted into a controlled fire on your tongue that warmed you and loosened it.

“Miss Stein was very big but not tall and was heavily built like a peasant woman. She had beautiful eyes and a strong German-Jewish face that also could have been Friulano and she reminded me of a northern Italian peasant woman with her clothes, her mobile face and her lovely, thick, alive, immigrant hair which she wore put up in the same way she had probably worn it in college. She talked all the time and at first it was about people and places.

“Her companion [Alice B. Toklas] had a very pleasant voice, was small, very dark, with her hair cut like Joan of Arc in the Boutet de Monvel illustrations and had a very hooked nose.” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, ps. 13-14.

“A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace’s definition of the aims of poetry, “either to please or to educate” (“aut delectare aut prodesse”). Salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, were carried on until as recently as the 1940s in urban settings.

. . .

“When dealing with the salons, historians have traditionally focused upon the role of women within them.[28] Works in the 19th and much of the 20th century often focused on the scandals and ‘petty intrigues’ of the salons.[29] Other works from this period focused on the more positive aspects of women in the salon.[30] Indeed, according to Jolanta T. Pekacz, the fact women dominated history of the salons meant that study of the salons was often left to amateurs, while men concentrated on ‘more important’ (and masculine) areas of the Enlightenment.[31]” Wikipedia

Image result for gertrude stein Salon

“27 rue de Fleurus is the location of the former home of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas in the 6th arrondissement of Paris on the Left Bank of Paris. It was also the home of Leo Stein for a time in the early nineteen-hundreds. It was a renowned Saturday evening gathering place for both expatriate American artists and writers and others noteworthy in the world of vanguard arts and letters, most notably Pablo Picasso. In the early decades of the century, hundreds of visitors flocked to the display of vanguard modern art, many came to scoff, but several went away converted.

“Entrée into the Stein salon was a sought-after validation, and Stein became combination mentor, critic, and guru to those who gathered around her, including Ernest Hemingway, who described the salon in A Moveable Feast. The principal attraction was the collection of Paul Cézanne oils and watercolors and the early pictures by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso which Gertrude and Leo had had the funds and the foresight to buy. The walls of their atelier at 27 rue de Fleurus (fr) were hung to the ceiling with now-famous paintings, the double doors of the dining room were lined with Picasso sketches. On a typical Saturday evening one would have found Gertrude Stein at her post in the atelier, garbed in brown corduroy, sitting in a high-backed Renaissance chair, her legs dangling, next to the big cast-iron stove that heated the chilly room. A few feet away, Leo Stein would expound to a group of visitors his views on modern art.

In 1933, Stein published a kind of memoir of her Paris years, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, written in the voice of Toklas, her life partner. The book became a literary bestseller and vaulted Stein from the relative obscurity of cult literary figure into the light of mainstream attention.[1]

“The gatherings in the Stein home “brought together confluences of talent and thinking that would help define modernism in literature and art.” Dedicated attendees included Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Guillaume Apollinaire, Sinclair Lewis, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Thornton Wilder, Juan Gris, Sherwood Anderson, Francis Cyril Rose, René Crevel, Élisabeth de Gramont, Francis Picabia, Claribel Cone, Mildred Aldrich, Carl Van Vechten and Henri Matisse.[2] Saturday evenings had been set as the jour fixe for formal congregation so Stein could work at her writing uninterrupted by impromptu visitors. It was Stein’s partner Toklas who became the de facto hostess for the wives and girlfriends of the artists in attendance, who met in a separate room.

Stein herself attributed the beginnings of the Saturday evening salons to Matisse, as

[m]ore and more frequently, people began visiting to see the Matisse paintings—and the Cézannes: “Matisse brought people, everybody brought somebody, and they came at any time and it began to be a nuisance, and it was in this way that Saturday evenings began.”[3] – Gertrude Stein

“Among Picasso’s acquaintances who frequented the Saturday evenings were: Fernande Olivier (Picasso’s mistress), Georges Braque (artist), André Derain (artist), Max Jacob (poet), Guillaume Apollinaire (poet), Marie Laurencin (artist, and Apollinaire’s mistress), Henri Rousseau (painter), and Joseph Stella.[4]” Wikipedia

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[Stein’s partner Alice B. Toklas was a great cook and provided food and drinks for the artists and writers living in Paris at that time.]

While Gertrude Stein entertained the men–the Artists and Writers–
Toklas Entertained the Wives.

“Her companion [Alice B. Toklas] had a very pleasant voice, was small, very dark, with her hair cut like Joan of Arc in the Boutet de Monvel illustrations and had a very hooked nose.” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, ps. 13-14.

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In 1904, Gertrude Stein fled from America, where she had failed medical school and where her romance had also failed. She moved to Paris and lived with her brother, and the Steins became the earliest collectors and proponents of modern art.

Ernest Hemingway Writes about Gertrude Stein in 1920’s Paris:

“My wife and I had called on Miss Stein, and she and the friend who lived with her had been very cordial and friendly and we had loved the big studio with the great paintings. It was like one of the best rooms in the finest museum except [p. 13] there was a big fireplace and it was warm and comfortable and they gave you good things to eat and tea and natural distilled liqueurs made from purple plums, yellow plums or wild raspberries. These were fragrant, colorless alcohols served from cut-glass carafes in small glasses…they all tasted like the fruits they came from, converted into a controlled fire on your tongue that warmed you and loosened it.

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“Miss Stein was very big but not tall and was heavily built like a peasant woman. She had beautiful eyes and a strong German-Jewish face that also could have been Friulano and she reminded me of a northern Italian peasant woman with her clothes, her mobile face and her lovely, thick, alive, immigrant hair which she wore put up in the same way she had probably worn it in college. She talked all the time and at first it was about people and places.

Gertrude Stein bequeathed the portrait that Picasso painted of her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. 

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The writers met at Sylvia Beach’s English Language Bookshop Shakespeare and Company.

Archibald MacLeish left a promising law practice and moved to Paris to pursue writing poetry

Ezra Pound arrived in Paris in 1920 and became a leader of Modern Expression.

T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land was published in 1922.

James Joyce‘s Ulysses was also published in 1992, but a U.S. Court banned it as obscene.

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Sylvia Beach offered to publish Ulysses through Shakespeare and Company.

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Sherwood Anderson encouraged Ernest Hemingway to join the writers in Paris. He advised him about where to stay, eat, etc.

Significant “Lost Generation” Writers

Ernest Hemingway
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ezra Pound
Sherwood Anderson
Waldo Peirce
Sylvia Beach
Gertrude Stein
John Dos Passos
E.E. Cummings
Archibald MacLeish
Hart Crane
T.S. Eliot

Famous Literary Works

The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Waste Land- T.S. Eliot
The Sun Also Rises- Ernest Hemingway
Babbitt- Sinclair Lewis
The Sound and the Fury- William Faulkner
The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway
All Quiet on the Western Front- Erich Maria Remarque

Lost Generation Painters

Picasso
Leger
Braque

Music

Stravinsky

Hemingway Memoir Moveable Feast – On Adultery & the Unfinished Business of Memory

Hemingway is Seated Between His First Wife Hadley and His Second Wife Pauline

Hemingway wrote A Moveable Feast in 1957 through 1960,  but that book is his memoir about the years between 1921 and 1925, when he was married to his first wife Hadley and when the couple had one child and lived in Paris. At the very end of  A Moveable Feast, Hemingway alludes to the fact that he had met another woman and that she had lived in his home for a while before they became intimately involved. For several reasons, I highly recommend reading A Moveable Feast.  First , it is an eloquent prequel to a more current book The Paris Wife, which is historical fiction.

The Paris Wife was published in 2012, which was almost 100 years after Hemingway was married to Hadley, and The Paris Wife is an excellent example of how one person’s memoir can become the fodder for another person’s novel. The Paris Wife begins almost where Hemingway’s Moveable Feast ends.

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A Photo of Hemingway and His First Wife Hadley

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A Photo of Hemingway and His Second Wife Pauline

Quotes from A Moveable Feast
Hemingway On His Adulterous Relationship with Pauline

“. . .we had already been infiltrated by another rich using the oldest trick there is. It is that an unmarried young woman becomes the temporary best friend of another young woman who is married, goes to live with the husband and wife and then unknowingly, innocently and relentingly sets out to marry the husband. [p. 209]
. . .
“The husband has two attractive girls around when he has finished work. One is new and strange and if he has bad luck he gets to love them both.
“Then, instead of the two of them and their child, there are three of them. First it is stimulating and it goes on that way for a while. All thins truly wicked start from an innocence. So you live day by day and enjoy what you have and do not worry. You lie and hate it and it destroys you and every day is more dangerous, but you live day to day as in a war.

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Hemingway and Mr. Bumby [Jack]

“When I saw my wife again standing by the tracks as the train came in by the piled logs at the station, I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her. She was smiling, the sun on her lovely face tanned by the snow and sun, beautifully built, her hair red gold in the sun, grown out all winter awkwardly and beautifully, and Mr. Bumby standing with her, blond and chunky and with winter cheeks looking like a good Vorarlberg boy.
. . .
“I loved her and I loved no one else and we had a lovely magic [p. 210] time while we were alone.
. . .
“That was the end of the first part of Paris. Paris was never to be the same again although it was always Paris and you changed as it changed.
. . .
“But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, pgs. 209-211.

In almost the same way that Hemingway had written many years before her, McLain makes reference to the affair with Pauline that insidiously evolved in Hadley’s home and almost under her nose. The writing in  McLain’s Preface to The Paris Wife seems like an extension of the comments that Hemingway made about his adulterous relationship with Pauline, and in that regard, I believe that McLain has produced an excellent example of historical fiction–one that is worthy of studyingmore carefully.

Quotes from The Paris Wife

“This isn’t a detective story–not hardly. I don’t want to say, Keep watch for the girl who will come along and ruin everything, but sh’s coming anyway, set on her course in a gorgeous chipmunk coat and fine shoes, her sleek brown hair bobbed so close to her well-made head she’ll seem like a pretty otter in my kitchen. Her easy smile. Her fast smart talk [p. xi] … Ernest will read his book and care nothing for her. Not at first. And the tea will boil in the teapot, and I’ll tell a story about a girl she and I both knew a hundred years ago in St. Louis, and we’ll feel like quick and natural friends while across the yard, in the sawmill, a dog will start barking and keep barking and he won’t stop for anything.” McLain, Paula. The Paris Wife, pgs. xi-xii.

A List of Hemingway’s Wives

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Hemingway was married to Hadley Richardson from 1921 – 1927

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Hemingway was married to Pauline Pfeiffer from 1927 – 1940

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Hemingway was married to Martha Gelhorn from 1940 – 1945

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Hemingway married Mary Welsh from 1946 until . . .
The above photo was taken in 1959 –  Spain,

I read A Moveable Feast, and  I read The Paris Wife immediately after I read Feast, and I  had questions about Why. . .

Why did Hemingway, several wives and several years later, feel compelled to write A Moveable Feast?

For several years, Hemingway worked on his book A Memorable Feast, but he finished it when he was married to his fourth wife Mary Welsh. The book was first published in 1964, In a Note inside the book, Mary Welsh said the following:

“Ernest started writing this book in Cuba in the autumn of 1957, worked on it in Ketchum, Idaho, in the winter of 1958-59, took it with him to Spain when we went there in April, 1959, and brought it back with him to Cuba and then to Ketchum late that fall. He finished the book in the spring of 1960 , Cuba….
It concerns the years 1921 to 1926 in Paris.” M. H. Note added to the front of A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway finished the book A Moveable Feast in the spring of 1960 . In 1961, Hemingway bought a home in Ketchum, Idaho, and he committed suicide there in July of 1961. 

I have only begun to research these facts, but it would seem to me that even though Hemingway was unfaithful to Hadley and even though his adultery ended his marriage, Hemingway’s divorce did not stop Hemingway from continuing to think about Hadley–probably not until his death.

William Faulkner said:

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – William Faulkner

I believe that Hemingway’s past with Hadley was never past, and I believe that he carried his Unfinished Hadley Business with him the rest of his life. As I read Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, I noticed that he made several comments about how much that he had loved Hadley. I believe that Hemingway never quit loving Hadley. At the very least, he never completely ended his business with her.

Most of us would like to forget or to bury some of the chapters of our pasts, but that is not actually possible. It didn’t work for Hemingway, and it doesn’t work for us either. After Hemingway and Hadley divorced, they only saw each other two more times, and those meetings were short. On one of the occasions, Hemingway and Hadley  accidentally bumped into each other.

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Hemingway had an exciting life. He lived and hunted all over the world. He had numerous extra-marital affairs, and he was married four times. Hemingway partied hard and he drank excessively. The acclaimed author probably tried everything possible to forget parts of his past, but he could not do that. Finally, he wrote his memoir about his Hadley years, but Hemingway’s memoir did not solve his problem, and his memoir did not undo all of the missteps that Hemingway made after Hadley. When Hemingway walked out of his life with Hadley and his first son Jack, a gate was erected between his Hadley years and the rest of his life. In his mind’s eye, he could still see those years and he was obviously always bothered by them, but nothing that he did pulled down the gate that prevented his return to his past relationships.

It would seem that in writing A Moveable Feast that Hemingway was trying to finish his Hadley business. Perhaps if he had explored those memories and had written his memoir sooner, it might have helped. It would appear, however, that Hemingways’ efforts were too late. Hemingway shot himself a year after he finished writing A Memorable Feast. A Memorable Feast was published three years later.

©Jacki Kellum September 27, 2016

Unfinished

Ernest Hemingway Memoir – A Moveable Feast – Writing Description & Sense of Place – Background for The Paris Wife

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” – Ernest Hemingway

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Although Hemingway wrote the Moveable Feast later–two or three wives later–it is about the years between 1921 and 1925, when he was married to his first wife Hadley and when the couple lived in Paris.

“A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures the love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

“Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

“Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of Jazz Age Paris. As Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history and pours himself into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises, Hadley strives to hold on to her sense of self as her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Eventually they find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

“A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.” Amazon

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
WINNER—BEST HISTORICAL FICTION—GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PeopleChicago Tribune • NPR • The Philadelphia Inquirer • Kirkus Reviews • The Toronto Sun • BookPage

Moveable Feast stands alone as a good read–Hemingway’s Memoir, and it is an excellent resource for fully appreciating The Paris Wife by Paula McClain. 

Is Moveable Feast Fact or Fiction?

“If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.” – Ernest Hemingway – Preface to Moveable Feast.

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The opening lines of Moveable Feast [Hemingway’s Memoir about the years 1921 – 1926 in Paris]:

“Then there was the bad weather. It would come in one day when the fall was over. We would have to shut the windows in the night against the rain and the cold wind would strip the leaves from the trees in the Place Contrescarpe. The leaves lay sodden in the rain and the wind drove the rain against the big green autobus at the terminal and the Café des Amateurs was crowded and the windows misted over from the heat and the smoke inside. It was a sad, evilly run café where the drunkards of the quarter crowded together and I kept away from it because of the smell of dirty bodies and the sour smell of drunkenness.
. . .
“The Café des Amateurs was the cesspool of the rue Mouffetard, that wonderful narrow crowded market street which led into the Place Contrescarpe. The squat toilets of the old apartment houses…emptied into cesspools which were emptied by pumping into horse-drawn tank wagons at night. In the summer time, with all windows [p. 3] open, we would hear the pumping and the odor was very strong.
. . .No one emptied the Café des Amateurs though, and its yellowed poster stating the terms and penalties of the law against public drunkenness was as flyblown and disregarded as its clients were constant and ill-smelling.

“All of the sadness of the city came suddenly with the first cold rains of winter, and there were no more tops to the high white houses as you walked but only the wet blackness of the street and the closed doors of the small shops, the herb sellers, the stationery and the newspaper shops, the mid-wife–second class–and the hotel…where I had a room on the top floor where I worked.

“It was either six or eight flights up to the top floor and it was very cold and I knew how much it would cost for a bundle of small twigs, three wire-wrapped packets of short, half-pencil length  pieces of split pine to catch fire from the twigs, and then the bundle of half-dried lengths of hard wood that I must but to make a fire that would warm the room. ” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, ps. 3-4.

“I was writing about up in Michigan, and since it was a wild, cold, blowing day it was that sort of day in the story.
. . .
“But the boys [in the story he was writing] were drinking and this made me thirsty and I ordered a rum St. James. This tasted wonderful on the cold day and I kept on writing, feeling very well and feeling the good Martinique rum warm me all through my body and my spirit.” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, p. 5.
. . .
“The story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it. I ordered another rum St. James and I watched the girl whenever I looked up, or when I sharpened the pencil with a pencil sharpener with the shavings curling into the saucer under my drink.”  Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, p. 6.
. . .

“Now that the bad weather had come, we could leave Paris for a while for a place where this rain would be snow coming down through the pines and covering the road and the high hillsides and at an altitude where we would hear it creak was we walked home at night. Below Le Avants there was a chalet where the pension was wonderful and where we would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright. That was where we would go. Traveling third class on the train was not expensive.
. . .
“Maybe away from Paris I could write about Paris as in Paris I could write about Michigan.
. . .
“Anyway we would go if my wife wanted to….

“She had a gently modeled face and her eyes and her smile lighted up  at decisions as though they were rich presents.” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, p. 7.

“When we came back to Paris it was clear and cold and lovely. The city had accommodated itself to winter, there was good wood for sale at the wood and coal place across our street….Our town apartment was warm and cheerful. …on the streets the winter light was beautiful. Now you were accustomed to see the bare trees against the sky and you walked on the fresh-washed gravel paths through the Luxembourg gardens in the clear sharp wind. The trees were sculpture without their leaves when you were reconciled to them….
“…I did not notice…the climb up to the top floor of the hotel where I worked, in a room that looked across all the roofs and the chimneys of the high hill of the quarter, was a pleasure. The fireplace drew well in the room and it was warm and pleasant to work. I brought mandarines and roasted chestnuts to the room in paper packets and peeled and ate the small tangerine-like oranges and threw their skins and spat their seeds in the fire when I ate them and roasted chestnuts when I was hungry, I was always hungry…[p. 11].
. . .
I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day. But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going…I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and yo will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write teh truest sentence that you know.’ So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on for there. It was easy then….”  Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, ps. 11-12.

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Ernest Hemingway Writes about Gertrude Stein in 1920’s Paris:

“My wife and I had called on Miss Stein, and she and the friend who lived with her had been very cordial and friendly and we had loved the big studio with the great paintings. It was like one of the best rooms in the finest museum except [p. 13] there was a big fireplace and it was warm and comfortable and they gave you good things to eat and tea and natural distilled liqueurs made from purple plums, yellow plums or wild raspberries. These were fragrant, colorless alcohols served from cut-glass carafes in small glasses…they all tasted like the fruits they came from, converted into a controlled fire on your tongue that warmed you and loosened it.

“Miss Stein was very big but not tall and was heavily built like a peasant woman. She had beautiful eyes and a strong German-Jewish face that also could have been Friulano and she reminded me of a northern Italian peasant woman with her clothes, her mobile face and her lovely, thick, alive, immigrant hair which she wore put up in the same way she had probably worn it in college. She talked all the time and at first it was about people and places.

alice_b-_toklas_by_carl_van_vechten_-_1949

“Her companion [Alice B. Toklas] had a very pleasant voice, was small, very dark, with her hair cut like Joan of Arc in the Boutet de Monvel illustrations and had a very hooked nose.” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, ps. 13-14.

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Gertrude Stein on The Lost Generation

” ‘All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.’
. . .

“”You have no respect for anything. you drink yourselves to death…’ ” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, p. 29.

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Hemingway On Walking and about the River Seine
About Autumn, Winter, and Spring

“I would walk along the quais when I had finished work or when I was trying to think something out. It was easier to think if I was walking and doing something or seeing people doing something they understood.” [p. 43]
. . .

“With the fishermen and the life on the river, the beautiful barges with their own life on board, the tugs with their smoke-stacks that folded back to pass under the bridges, pulling a tow of barges, the great elms on the stone banks of the river, the plane trees and in some places the poplars, I could never be [p. 44] lonely along the river. With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.”

“In those days, thought, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, ps. 43-45.

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Painting by Corot

Hemingway – & the Goatherd

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.

“In the spring mornings I would work early while my wife still slept. The windows were open wide and the cobbles of the street were drying after the rain. The sun was drying the wet faces of the houses that faced the window. The shops were still shuttered. The goatherd came up the street blowing his pipes and a woman who lived on the floor above us came out onto the sidewalk with a big pot. The goatherd chose one of the the heavy-bagged, black milk-goats and milked her into the pot while his dog pushed the others onto the sidewalk. The goats looked around, turning their necks like sight-seers. The goatherd took the money from the woman and thanked her and went on up the street piping and the dog herded the goats on ahead, their horns bobbing. I went back to writing and the woman came up the stairs with the goat milk. She wore her felt-soled cleaning shoes and I only heard her breathing as she stopped on the stairs outside our door and then the shutting of her door. She was the only customer for goat milk in our building.”  Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, p. 49.

“The blue-backed notebooks, the two pencils and the pencil sharpener (a pocket knife was too wasteful), the marble-topped tables, the smell of early morning, sweeping out and mopping, and luck were al you needed. For luck you carried a horse chestnut and a rabbit’s foot in your right pocket. The fur had been worn off the rabbit’s foot long ago and the bones and the sinews were polished by wear. The claws scratched in the lining of your pocket and you knew your luck was still there.” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, p. 91.

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Hemingway on Ezra and Dorothy Pound

“Ezra Pound was always a good friend and he was always doing things for people. The studio where he lived with his wife Dorothy on the rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs was a poor as Gertrude Stein’s studio was rich. It had very good light and was heated by a  stove and it had paintings by Japanese artists Ezra knew.

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. . .

“Dorothy’s paintings I liked very much and I though Dorothy was very beautiful and built wonderfully. ”  Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, p. 91.
. . .
“Ezra was the most generous writer I have ever known and the most disinterested. He helped poets, painters, sculptors and prose writers that he believed in and he would help anyone whether he believed in them or not…. He worried about everyone and in the time when I first knew him he was the most worried about T.S. Eliot who, Ezra told me, had to work in a bank in London and so had insufficient time and bad hours to function as a poet.

Ezra Pound, Bel Esprit, and T. S. Eliot

“Ezra founded something called Bel Esprit with Miss Natalie Barney who was a rich American woman and a patroness of the arts.  Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, p. 110.
. . .
“The idea of Bel Esprit was that we would all contribute a part of whatever we earned to provide a fund to get Mr. Eliot out of the bank.
. . .
“I cannot remember how Bel Esprit finally cracked up but I think it had something to do with the publication of The Waste Land….”
Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, p. 112.

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F.Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda

Hemingway on F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda

“Scott was a man then who looked like a boy with a face between handsome and pretty. He had very wavy hair, a high forehead, excited and friendly eyes and a delicated longplipped Irish mouth that, on a girl, would have been the mouth of a beauty. His chin was well built and he had good ears and a handsome, almost beautiful, unmarked nose. [p. 149]
. . .
“He was lightly built and did not look in awfully good shape, his face being faintly puffy. His Brooks Brothers clothes fitted him well and he wor a white shirt with a buttoned-down collar and a guards tie.” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, pgs. 149-50.

“Scott Fitzgeral invited us to have lunchwith his wife elda and his little daughter at the flat they had rented at 14 rue Tilsitt. I cannot remember much about the flat except that it was gloomy and airless and that there was nothing in it that seemed to belong to them except Scott’s fist book bound in light blue leather with the titles in gold. Scott also showed us a large ledger with all of the storied he had received for them and also the amounts received for any motion picture sales, and the sales and royalties of his books.
. . .
“Zelda had a very bad hangover.
. . .
“On this day Zelda did not look her bet. Her beautiful dark blonde hair had been ruined temporarily by a bad permanent [p. 179] she had gotten in Lyon…, and her eyes were tired and her face was tootaut and drawn.

“She was formally pleasant to Hdley and me but a big part of her seemd not to be present but to still be on the party she had come home from that morning.
. . .

Image result for f. scott fitzgerald's daughterF. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda, and Their Daughter Frances or Scottie

“Scott was being the perfect host and we ate a very bad lunch that the wine cheered a little but not much. The little girl was blonde, chubby-faced, well built, and very healthy looking and spoke English with a strong Cockney accent. Scott explained that she had an English nanny because he wanted her to speak like Lady Diana Manners when she grew up.

“Zelda had hawk’s eyes and a thin mouth and deep-south manners and accent. Watching her face you could see her mind leave the table and go to the night’s part and return with her eyes blank as a ca’s and then pleased, and the pleasure would show along the thin line of her lips and then be gone.
. . .
“Zelda was jealous of Scott’s work…. [p. 180]

“He would start to work and as soon as he was working well Zelda would begin complaining about how bored she was and get him off on another drunken party. They would quarrel and then make up and he would sweat out the alcohol on long walks with me…Then it would start all over again.” [p. 181]
. . .
“All that late spring and early summer Scott fought to work but he could only work in snatches.” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, pgs. 180-83.

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Hemingway is Seated Between His First Wife Hadley and His Second Wife Pauline

Hemingway On Adultery

“Before these rich had come we had already been infiltrated by another rich using the oldest trick there is> It is that an unmarried young woman becomes the temporary best friend of another young woman who is married, goes to live with the husband and wife and then unknowingly, innocently and relentingly set out to marry the husband. [p. 209]
. . .
“The husband has two attractive girls around when he has finished work. One is new and strange and if he has bad luck he gets to love them both.
“Then, instead of the two of them and their child, there are three of them. First it is stimulating and it goes on that way for a while. All thins truly wicked start from an innocence. So you live day by day and enjoy what you have and do not worry. You lie and hate it and it destroys you and every day is more dangerous, but you live day to day as in a war.
. . .

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Hemingway and Mr. Bumby [Jack]

“When I saw my wife again standing by the tracks as the train came in by the piled logs at the station, I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her. She was smiling, the sun on her lovely face tanned by the snow and sun, beautifully built, her hair red gold in the sun, grown out all winter awkwardly and beautifully, and Mr. Bumby standing with her, blond and chunky and with winter cheeks looking like a good Vorarlberg boy.
. . .
“I loved her and I loved no one else and we had a lovely magic [p. 210] time while we were alone.
. . .
“That was the end of the first part of Paris. Paris was never to be the same again although it was always Paris and you changed as it changed.
. . .
“But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.” Hemingway, Ernest. Moveable Feast, pgs. 209-211.

 

A Moveable Feast Is Quoted Repeatedly in the Following Documentary, Which is Excellent:

 

 

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas – Gertrude Stein Memoir – Free Ebook – Talks about Stein’s Relationship with Artists and Writers in Paris

The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas (1933) Free Ebook Here
Author: Gertrude Stein on Project Gutenberg Australia

“The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was written in 1933 by Gertrude Stein in the guise of an autobiography authored by Alice B. Toklas, who was her lover. It is a fascinating insight into the art scene in Paris as the couple were friends with Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. They begin the war years in England but return to France, volunteering for the American Fund for the French Wounded, driving around France, helping the wounded and homeless. After the war Gertrude has an argument with T. S. Eliot after he finds one of her writings inappropriate. They become friends with Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway. It was written to make money and was indeed a commercial success. However, it attracted criticism, especially from those who appeared in the book and didn’t like the way they were depicted.” Amazon

Which Do You Want – Money or Happiness? – Quotes about Money and Happiness

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“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” ― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Virginia Woolf opened a can of worms in suggesting that in order to write, the writer must have already attained a reasonable amount of financial security. In addition, the writer must have time to write. Having both time and money simultaneously is not an easy thing to do. I always say that the American Dilemma is that we can work all of the time and have plenty of money but in doing so, we have no time to do what we want; or we can work at formal jobs as little as possible and have time to do what makes us happy, like writing, but we have no money to do what we enjoy. I represent the tail end of that dream, but by the grace of God, I do have a room of my own, and I have enough money to pay for the most basic needs of my life. For me, that has become enough.

I was able to retire early, and each month, I get a few coins from my retirement. In addition, I work a few hours a week as the storyteller for the toddlers at my library. I also get a few coins from that job. A coin here and a coin there, I survive. What’s wrong with that picture? I was the Valedictorian of my class. I probably should be doing better financially than I am. I should be banging my head against the wall and engaging in daily confrontations with co-workers and clients. I should be sitting at a desk. I should be on the conference call from Hell. I should be rich, but I am not. Yet, by the grace of God, I have enough money to get by, and I have found ways to enjoy the time that my lifestyle allows me.

When I was 20-years-old, I almost died in a car accident. That was long before I had begun to flourish, and that accident changed the course of my life. When I was 20-years-old, I became aware of the reality that life does not last terriby long for anyone, and for some people, life is short. I realized that I needed to spend more of my few remaining hours in this world doing things that I liked, and I never liked the business world or working nine to five in someone else’s office. I tried that route for a few years, but I got out of the rat race early, and many years ago, I began following a different path in life

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Being the arty type, some time ago, I elected to march to a cadence that is different than that which regulates the lives of most of the rest of the world. It is commonplace for artists to choose to live their lives a little differently. In doing so, we creatives tend to make choices that would not be esteemed as the popular ones. By the world’s standards, I have not lived up to my potential, but on the other hand, I have lived a life that has allowed me the time to smell life’s roses along the way.

Because of the nature of my open work week, I have enough time that I can allocate many hours toward whatever goal that I choose. I do work–in fact, my work day is at least 18-hours-long, but I don’t work in a formal job and in an office away from my home. From my own room, I write and I research for more writing. From my own studio, I paint. In my own yard, I garden. I stay very busy, but I don’t get paid dollar bills for 99% of what I do. I work to make enough money to survive, and I pay my bills. I spend most of my days writing and painting and gardening. When night time arrives, I rest my head, and I sleep.

Ashes to ashes–dust to dust–the money only helps us for a short portion of what will be our eternities. After that,  the money  is no better for us than the dust of the rest of our lives. I will not pretend that I don’t worry that when I am old, I will be a pauper. I don’t have everything figured out. To do that, I would have to be much smarter than I am. I have simply decided to live one day at a time, and that is about all that I can handle.

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I–I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

©Jacki Kellum September 26, 2016

Some other great quotes about the odd relationship between money and happiness:

“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” ― Groucho Marx

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.” ― Will Rogers

“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” ― Dorothy Parker

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” ― Oscar Wilde

Dilemma

All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren – A Book that Was Formerly Banned – Consider the 2016 Presidential Campaign & Freedoms That We Take for Granted

September 25 through October 1, 2016, is Banned Books Week. Visit jackikellum.com to find a list of the books most often banned Here.  I compiled the list earlier today, and when I saw All the King’s Men listed, my mind somehow connected America’s current political situation  and the fact that America has not always been a nation of absolute freedom. When you look at the entire list of banned books on Wikipedia, you will see that seemingly harmless books have been banned in the past. Children’s books–even children’s picture books–have been banned in the past. I cannot help but consider that this nation could easily revert to a time when we, as Americans, have fewer and fewer freedoms. We could easily lose our freedom to read, once more.

All the King’s Men was published in 1949, and it won the Pulitzer Prize. Today, the book is often considered as one of the finest books  that has been written about American politics.  “It describes the career of Willie Stark, a back-country lawyer whose idealism is overcome by his lust for power. This landmark book is a loosely fictionalized account of Governor Huey Long of Louisiana, one of the nation’s most astounding politicians. All the King’s Men tells the story of Willie Stark, a southern-fried politician who builds support by appealing to the common man and playing dirty politics with the best of the back-room deal-makers. …The award-winning book is a play of politics, society and personal affairs, all wrapped in the cloak of history.” Amazon

I can easily see that as more and more greedy, paranoid, and power-hungry politicians are elected, books that expose that kind of corruption might be banned again, and that is a dangerous possibility. Reading is the way that we recall how truly bad things can be when we begin sliding down slippery slopes.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

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I feel quite sure that Hillary Clinton has broken laws and that she has done everything possible to cover up that reality. I don’t, however, believe that Donald Trump has a clean slate. In fact, I suspect that Donald Trump has simply not been caught breaking laws, and to top that problem, he does seem to have a Willie-Stark-like political greediness and hunger for power. When unscrupulous people who are already trying to cover up their mistakes get into power, the American citizens stand to lose many of their freedoms.

I can envision a time when the banning of books could become a problem again.

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I can even envision a time when burning books could happen.

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George Orwell’s 1984 Has Also Been A Banned Book Before

I am not an alarmist. I am not even political, but today, as I began assembling the list of books that have been banned before, I began to be concerned.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

I cannot remember a time when the options for electing a good president seemed as grim as they do in 2016. In my opinion, 2016 is a particularly good year to be thankful for the freedoms that we still enjoy, and one of those is the freedom to read–and to write.

©Jacki Kellum September 25, 2016

 

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