Grace Hemingway disapproved of her brother's foul language. Her brother liked to use foul language to suggest his toughness. But, really, he wasn't that tough. Anyone who's read enough of him, especially the short stories, knows that Hemingway was soft, actually. He ached for sincerity, for passion, for care, motherly care. I know men like this, and they're usually deeply talented. It's as if the art is an effigy for the loss of their boyhood, when they were the center of their mother’s world, the recipient of her sincerity, her passion, her particular kind of motherly care. Sometimes the making of art equals the desperate pursuit of unconditional love.
"Mr. Hemingway," asked the young writer, "what is the key to becoming a writer?"
"An unhappy childhood," replied Mr. Hemingway.
There are stories that Hemingway's mom dressed him up as a girl when he was a young boy.
As Dorothy Parker noted: "He was a woman, masquerading in men's clothes."
Some people hold the attitude that Hemingway was somehow an asshole. He wasn't really. But there's no doubt that he was a total bitch.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
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