“But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.” – A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway

 

Two Thursdays ago, I had knee surgery and my husband pulled from his briefcase a small gift from a departing intern at his law office.  The intern, remembering their conversations about Paris, had given my husband a used copy of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.  I quickly snatched the book and set about reading it while I recuperated in a prone position for the better part of two days.  (One can only take so much Facebooking and reality television, even when Percocet is involved.)

The copy of the book that I read was beautiful.   Not in a pristine, brand new kind of way, but in a many-times-over, previously loved kind of way.  Its pages have turned yellow around the edges and it contains that wonderful old book smell.  As much as I love my iPad and my Nook, neither will ever be as cool as the discovery of an interesting book plucked from a used bookstore’s bulging shelves.

A Moveable Feast is an interesting read for people who love Hemingway, or are interested in a historical Paris, or who want to hear an inside view of the characters of the Paris literary and art scene in the 1920s.  It certainly made me see F. Scott Fitzgerald in a whole new light, after reading that he wanted Hemingway’s opinion of the size of his manhood…

Perhaps the best part was reading about how much time Hemingway spent writing.  He became the Hemingway we celebrate today; he worked for it.  It’s encouraging to me as a new writer to remember that writing is a craft, and that great writing is something to be earned.

 

 

 

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