Fifty-two years ago today, an American luminary who changed the literary landscape died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. I was seven, too young to remember. It wasn’t until 1977 when I found the biography Papa Hemingway on a shelf inside the first house I bought that I read about his tragic final years. I am reminded of the anniversary of his death each year on July 2nd, because it is my birthday.
There’s a saying among writers, “You write who you read,” or something like that. To me, it means that the authors you read have an influence on your own writing, whether it is your genre, style, or whatever. Hemingway’s style was tight and hard, his narrative spare. It seems to me that the more I read his work, the less wordy my prose, unless I just imagine it.
So today Papa was on my mind during my annual ritual, a long run to celebrate another year. I began the run thinking The Old Man and the Sea, and ten miles later finished with A Movable Feast.