Tag: ernest hemingway

Freewrite, by AstrohausThough I haven’t heard from Astrohaus yet — come on, guys! — I still think often of the Freewrite (link) and how much I’d like to put one to the test.  If you haven’t read about my desire to acquire one, check out the (link) to an entry where I talk about it.

In that entry, I mentioned the Freewrite was originally called the Hemingwrite.  I love that name, and I’m sorry they changed it, though I know Hemingway doesn’t have the same cachet he used to.  Which is a damned shame, I’d like to say, because “Big Two-Hearted River” (link) is the single best piece of fiction ever wrought by the hand of man.  And, no, I’m not engaging in hyperbole there.  If I ever write something a tenth as good as “River,” I’ll die happy.

Freewrite is a perfectly good name, but why “Hemingwrite” in the first place?  Well, it turns out it was called such a thing for two reasons: 1) it was meant to be used in the same manner in which Hemingway wrote his own fiction, and 2) because it was specifically designed to resemble the Royal Quiet De Luxe Hemingway preferred.

Ernest HemingwayThis latter is one of those funny things, because the day I discovered the Freewrite, I had been looking at old Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriters as a cheap, simple, portable writing option, both because the Quiet De Luxe was (and is) an excellent typewriter, and because I’m a Hemingway fanboy and it seemed like a cool thing to do.

As far as drafting goes, it’s an interesting approach.  Because typewriters are necessarily different than word processors due to the limitations of physical keys striking a piece of paper versus a screen where a cursor can be clicked anywhere for instant editing, writing has to be done in perpetual forward motion.  Sure, you can backspace and XX over a false word or two, but for the most part a writer writes, then comes back to the text later with a red pencil.  Composition and editing/revision are separate steps, which is exactly what the Freewrite does.

I’m more interested in this thing all the time.

Writing

Ernest HemingwayToday marks what would be the 119th birthday of the master wordsmith, and Nobel Prize-winner, Ernest Hemingway.  I am a longtime devotee of the man who asked his friends to call him “Papa,” though he has fallen distressingly out of favor in recent years.  Perhaps it’s a byproduct of the general decay of reading culture in the United States, or perhaps it’s what appears to be a lessening emphasis on foundational literature in the nation’s schools, but it is a tragedy whichever the cause.

Whatever you happen to be reading right now, I’d like to invite you to pick up something by Hemingway when it’s time to read something new. Whether you’ve read his work before, or not, it’s likely you’ll discover something worthwhile in his words.  Though I have read and reread Hemingway‘s writing many times over the decades, I still learn something every time I return to him.

I will leave you with the opening sentences of Hemingway’s most familiar classic, A Farewell to Arms (link).  I think you’ll find it enough to draw you into the larger work.

In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.

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