Saturday, July 02, 2011

On Hemingway, 50 years on

A half-century ago today, Ernest Hemingway ended his life. In doing so he also ended a major chapter in American literary history. Thankfully, words can outlive those who string them together. And thankfully, I was privileged enough to read his words when I was just discovering how much I loved to write.

Interestingly, this quote that has nothing to do with the output side of the equation is what sticks with me today:

"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen."
Ernest Hemingway

On second thought, maybe his advice has everything to do with the writing process. What do you think?


Kalei's Best Friend said...

BTW saw this article in our paper...,0,3840324.story
As far as the quote, yes, its true.. Many times people will 'yes' someone w/out really listening to what that person is saying...I think its because they're too preoccupied w/what they have to get done next.. I think when someone really listens they can get a better understanding of the person as well as themselves... I will bet that the best classic writers were great listeners because they listen w/their heart..
A few friends have told me that I'm a good listener.. which I didn't realize that I am.. I think its because I don't interrupt unless whatever they are saying hits a nerve..
Great writers like Hemingway, Steinbeck touch my heart. I've always loved how their characters had so much depth.. Depth which I think only come from the writer..which makes me think the characters are the writer in disguise.

Leckeres für Mensch und Katze said...

Thanks for loving my photos! :)

Tabor said...

Even though I have always thought of him as a bit of a male chauvinist pig, I did enjoy his books.

Alexia said...

I discovered him when quite young, before I knew about issues such as chauvinism. I just admired him for his superb writing.

And I think you're right - a good writer, especially a good writer of dialogue, would surely need to be a good listener.

Kavi said...

Just read about the feds and Hemingway ! very curious twist to the tale that i knew, I must say !

On another note, listening is so crucial. With short attention spans and such else there isnt much of it working at all these days !

Anonymous said...

Hemingway took his own life, just as Hunter S. Thompson did. They were both iconiclasts that lived by their own rules, and when the time came, they chose to end it rather than be someone other than themselves. For those whom independence and strength defines them, death is preferable to weakness and being reliant and at the mercy of others. I would hope that I have the courage when the time comes to leave this mortal coil as I wish.

mmp said...

listening to others is so underated

i am told that when we get older, then no one wants to listen to us anymore

but hey, listen to the older slows us down...makes us stop...and their stories!...amazing....

Honey Pot said...

We all only hear what we want to hear, what fits.

Hemingway was crazier than a bag of nails, that was his genius.

He shouldn't have knocked himself off. That was the mania I suppose. He still had a few good ones in him.