Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Smitten: Ernest Hemingway

The motivating factor of my visiting Key West was seeing Hemingway's house (and cats - don't forget the cats). I could babble on for eternity about the man and his writings, even though I've still not read all of his stories.
Hemingway & Tea
My first encounter with Ernest Hemingway was a bit late in life; sure, I had been forced to read "The Old Man and the Sea" in middle school, but closed its cover rather unimpressed. It was a story about an old man on a fishing trip. Fishing was about as interesting and exciting to me as golf: it was neither interesting nor exciting, not in the least bit. It was boring. And so I didn't think twice about that short story by the textbook-summarized man named Hemingway.

I caught glimpses of his name on "100 Books You Should Read" list for the next few years, but it wasn't until I was studying literature in university that I met Hemingway again, and even then, it was not in the way that you would think.

I had been trying to convince a friend at the time that The Great Gatsby was indeed not a horrid book, but rather lovely and one worthy of reading. After getting sucked in completely, there was a time where I had to get my hands on everything related to The Lost Generation. Enter Hemingway, retake two. By the time I sat down and gave my first novel - The Sun Also Rises - a read, I was completely hooked by his short, terse prose and the tenderness that those simple statements could evoke.

Hemingway is one of those authors you either love or hate. His straightforward prose is not for everyone (and yet the teacher in me is adamant that, love or hate, everyone should be able to identify a Hemingway quote after a single sentence by style alone - it's not as hard as it sounds), but I found myself completely willing to open up my heart to a man who loved fishing and big game and who was an overall early 1900s bro who I probably wouldn't have much in common with. I have no idea how he makes me feel so deeply when his stories are framed in ways that I don't particularly understand (bullfighting? war? Did I mention fishing?).

Just last month I reread "The Old Man and the Sea". I wasn't overly excited going into it as, yes, it is still a story about fishing and, yes, I still find fishing boring; but this time something clicked. Frankly, I don't think any 13-year old can really grasp the complexities of emotion represented in "The Old Man and the Sea", that kind of perseverance and pride; it takes a certain level of worldliness and experience, if you will, to be able to appreciate the short story on more than an "it has themes of perseverance"-level.

I guarantee you, there is no other author who could make me cry over an old man's struggle with adversity, no author who could make something so personally out of touch feel palpable and relevant to a 20-something year old girl in the year 2014.

Hemingway 101: short, simple sentences; lots of 'and's; war/bullfighting/sport; still makes you cry. Want to write like Hemingway? Or perhaps you're living in a Hemingway novel?

Smitten is a biweekly feature where Kristin shares her latest obsessions, be they television shows, a new webseries, intriguing persons, internet memes, or artisanal cheeses. Nothing is off limits. Get your geek on.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hemingway Home & Museum

Usually I try to post about something literary on Tuesdays and with my recent trip, I figured a tour of Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West was more than appropriate! (Plus, I didn't want to inundate you with bajillions of travel photos all at once)
Hemingway House
While Key West wasn't the only place Hemingway lived in his lifetime, he spent 9 years in his Key West home with his wife, Pauline. The big, airy windows are to die for (though, I don't know how even those windows would save you in the crazy heat down there).
The Old Man and the Sea
First Editions
The best part was seeing Hemingway's own studio out back. What I wouldn't give to have my own little writing space like that (though I doubt I'd be as diligent about going to "work" everyday like he was)! Like, Hemingway actually wrote things here - excuse me while I go giddily jump up and down in the corner...
Hemingway's Garden
Hemingway famously salvaged the urinal from his favorite bar during renovations, claiming that he "pissed away most of his money there" and thus should have it (or so the story goes). Needless to say, it's now in Hemingway's garden, even if his wife did attempt to disguise it with Mexican tile.
Hemingway House
But really, the highlight is the cats...
Curled Up
Hemingway apparently owned 50-60 at the time, but now 40-50 descendants of his own polydactyl, six-toed cat live on the grounds and proceed to look adorable all the time.

I'll be posting some more about Hemingway for tomorrow's Smitten, but it was surreal to be on the grounds of not only a famous author's home, but one whose writings I personally love!

Have you visited the Hemingway Home? I always get giddy when I get to visit an author landmark!

Monday, July 21, 2014

For the Love of a Linguaphile v.113

Bright Weeds Beside Cyclone Fence
( via Theen Moy ) 

onerous adj. [ˈō-nə-rəs]: difficult and unpleasant to do or deal with (usually of a task) (via)

After agreeing to help her mother in the garden, Jo was given the onerous task of pulling all of the weeds out of the mulch by hand.

For the Love of a Linguaphile is a weekly series celebrating the snazzy words we encounter, from those found in great literary works, to those pesky words that keep popping up in everyday life. Hopefully you can incorporate a new word into your vocabulary, or even share one of your favorite words!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

link love

♥ How adorable is this beach bag DIY from Bookworms in Dresses? If only I had time before vacation...
Joss Whedon Brings Back Firefly (as a doodle). STOP PLAYING WITH MY EMOTIONS!
Thanks to Chocolate & Cream Cake for passing along this Illustrated A-to-Z of Unusual Words. I feel like many of us could get some use out of "scripturient"
Reader's Guilt: I suffer from the malady in many of its forms
♥ I somehow wrangled a month with a personal trainer, and I have a feeling my relationship with cheesy carbs is coming to an end. Imagine how excited I was to hear that my favorite fitness blogger, Cassey Ho of Blogilates, was hosting Quest's "Cooking Clean" series with loads of healthy dessert recipes. I may part with my macaroni & cheese, but I refuse to give up my dessert.
10 Things We Learned About Rainbow Rowell at her Landline Reading
♥ Mia Moore totally nailed it with her latest cosplay - Daenerys Targaryen
♥ In London this summer? Have a seat on one of the city's many book bench sculptures! Have a seat on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Don't mind if I do! (Also: Mary Poppins!)
Why can't I just watch the movie instead of reading the book?
Biographile is featuring a summer series called 'That Summer', featuring stories and memoirs on the season by writers like Margaret Atwood and Emma Straub (which is making me want to write my own memoir/Penumbra-y codex vitae)
♥ The Princess Type, for Good or Ill is a nice exploration of the progress and shortcomings of the princess genre. I'm conflicted myself, having grown up in Disney's second wave of princesses in the 90s; as much as I have nostalgia for the genre, the pros and cons present an interesting look at what princesses stand for and the problems they face.
♥ Hello Nature shares her top 5 business + blogging productivity tools (I've been using DayMap this weekend and am turning into quite a fan!)
♥ What to do when you have too many ideas
♥ I have a habit of hanging on to things forever, and never using them. Exhibit A: cool Project Life cards. I want to save my favorite just in case the perfect opportunity comes to use it. But Sarah of Yes & Yes reminded me why you shouldn't save the good stuff.
9 of the Greatest Cats in Literature
♥ With all of the books, movies, and television shows to keep up with, we've all probably had something spoiled for us at one point or another. Never fear - Dorkly has laid out a step-by-step plan for avoiding spoilers
♥ Don't avoid your troubles, rather turn toward the problem

What links have you discovered lately?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Travels: Key West

Home sweet home! I must say, it feels good to be back in Pittsburgh after spending the past week in Key West. Mum and I had the chance to take a rather impromptu vacation and while it was a much-needed getaway, there's truly no place like home.

I'm not much of a hot weather kinda gal, but made an exception for a visit to see Hemingway's home cats. Let's be honest, that's the main reason I chose Key West. And pie.
Key West
Southernmost Point


Mum and I had the opportunity to go sea kayaking and good news - I didn't float out to the open ocean! If you ever get the chance to go, I'd highly recommend it. As much as I love relaxing on vacation, I'm a firm believer that you need a little adventure, and this was a perfect blend of the two. We got to explore both mangroves and open water, and saw eagle rays, nurse sharks, ibises; and got to hold everything from sea cucumbers to starfish!
SunsetDusk on the Pier
Rather than overwhelm you with photographs, I figure I'll space out my travels into little mini-recaps over the next few days. We had the chance to see quite a few neat things, and while I didn't lose anything in Key West that I need to go back there (it's a bit too hot for me!) Mum and I had a marvelous vacation!

Up next...the Hemingway Home & Museum!

Have you been to Key West? Not a tropical-destination kinda vacationer? Where would you like to visit this summer?