A typewriter and a Paris Cafe (Conversations with Ernest Hemingway)

The change in the cold weather finally got me. While I lay wrapped in my shroud of aspirin, cold medicine, and roll of toilette paper (no more kleenex to be found), I found myself aimlessly searching youtube videos and thinking of the old typewriter days. I started to picture Ernest Hemingway at an old Paris cafe sipping from his shot-glass penning into his notebook of inspiration. I had this romantic scene stuck in my head until I came across his true personality when someone listed his quotes. His tall voice would yell to his friend across the table, “write drunk, edit sober” before he headed home from the bar for a two hour session at his typewriter. The next day I pictured him crossing out nearly half of everything he wrote the night before. In the afternoon, he met with a local paper when new magazine reporter leans over the table and asks, “How is latest work going?” His reply is, “The first draft of everything is shit.” I laughed out loud at the scene playing out in my head and looked around to see if anyone noticed. I stopped laughing to myself when I remembered my first interview for a local newspaper. My notebook and pen wrote furiously. I forgot to turn on the voice recorder a few times. Then, there were the awkward pauses while I fumbled for my list of questions. I was the new and naive reporter pretending to interview the world’s icon. What was the problem with the fantasy interview in my head? I didn’t want to be the reporter or even interview him. I wanted to be him. Let me specify, I wanted to be the writer in the scene, so what the hell keeps stopping me? Well, in exploring this thought at least I managed to finish one paragraph. I imagine Hemingway himself would say- “get your pen out and see what the hell you have to say about it.” As writers, we don’t know our voice until we let the pen bleed dry. So, get writing! Hey, it’s a little bit nicer than what Mr. Hemingway would say to you.

Mahieu
“Write drunk, edit sober.” Ernest Hemingway
“The first draft of everything is shit.” Ernest Hemingway

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