Doesn’t it seem that when something’s on your mind, you see it everywhere?
Take Ernest Hemingway.
I’m heavy into the drafting stage of a novel with Hemingway as a main character, set in Key West in the 30’s. I’ve been researching this book for almost a year. I eat, sleep, and breathe books by and about Ernest Hemingway. I take trips to Hemingway sites and museums. It’s become an obsession.
And it seems that now, he’s everywhere.
Just last week, the New York Times published an article about the re-release of A Moveable Feast, with a new editor, Sean Hemingway. Sean is Ernest and Pauline’s grandson through their son, Patrick. He made adjustments to the text (based on Hemingway’s own drafts) to paint his grandmother in a more favorable light.
Since Pauline is a character in my book, I find this information very helpful. If Patrick Hemingway wished to show the happiness and joy that Ernest and Pauline enjoyed, there must have been a great deal of it. There’s no shortage of children out to get their parents for past wrongs, so Patrick’s encouragement of his son to work on a project like this sends a strong message. It will help in my characterization of a very complicated woman.
Other Hemingway sightings include a book about the history of the daiquiri–which is rumored to have been brought to the US from Cuba by the author, a Hemingway movie in the works, and my favorite, a book just sold at auction to Random House about Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, for an unbelievable amount of money.
In this 110th anniversary year of his birth, I do detect a trend.
One final anecdote: about a month ago, I was experiencing some intense indecision about whether or not to throw all of my energy into the Hemingway novel, or start working on the sequel to my first book, Receive Me Falling. Many book clubs and readers have expressed interest in a sequel, so I felt pulled in two directions. On one hand, I had done so much research on Hemingway and his family that I wanted to put it to use while it was fresh in my mind. On the other hand, I wanted to satisfy my readers.
One night, I was having trouble sleeping from intense, spring, night rain. I finally dozed off, and found myself in the Hemingway house, in Key West, in 1935. I was sitting on a couch next to Hemingway engaged in small talk, when he suddenly became anxious. He took my hands and said, “Please write my book. I’ve become irrelevant.”
Then I woke up.
I don’t have to tell you what I’ve settled on in my writing.