Escape

If you are new here, I want you to know this; and if you are not new, this is just to supply a brief recap. I have shared my personal view(s) of the current U.S. president and the police murder of George Floyd, on June 4, June 2, and May 31. I have also discussed COVID-19 and related matters, for example, June 3, May 27, and April 28.

My opinions are clear in those posts. But my actual day to day influence is close to non-existent, as is probably yours. All most of us can do is to try to stay informed and contribute the best we can within our personal worlds where we may actually be able to make some positive impacts.

However, if we are U.S. citizens we do have the ULTIMATE say and way to make this change. If you do not agree with the policies (and the personal demeanor too: remember he is also chief of state, which requires our president maintain an elevated personal decorum as the foremost representative of us as Americans) of this current president, make sure you vote against him in November. That quiet vote is far more important than tweeting, or blogging, or even going to a protest. (The old politics lecturer re-emerges there from me again.) If you are newly living or studying abroad (and are not in the forces), the U.S. embassy web site in the country you are now residing is where you start. You vote by mail, by absentee ballot in your most recent place of U.S. residence. It takes just a few minutes to sort out: a couple of web clicks, you fill out some info online, and that county election board will nearer to the election date send a ballot to you wherever you are in the world.

[Photo by me, June 6, 2020.]

So now it is back to books on here (for now at least).

Trying to put my thoughts into words for this post, I found myself thinking we can probably nearly all of us use some escape. Reading is always certainly one means. We would also probably ALL love to get away physically to SOMEPLACE ELSE right now too.

I happened also the other day to see THAT QUOTE again pop up on Twitter. I went scrolling, but I couldn’t relocate that exact tweet for this post. But all I had to do was a quick search and another just like it was not hard to find:

You may have read that before (in some form at least). The actual statement from Ernest Hemingway was to his (then) wife and appeared in his posthumously published A Moveable Feast. It was his reaction to an excursion inside France that he had taken with a difficult – to be polite – F. Scott Fitzgerald:

“[I learned one thing.] … Never to go on trips with anyone you do not love.”

That is probably one of his most famous statements. It is often now usually “misquoted” as in that tweet as “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love” or “Never travel with anyone you do not love,” or a similar variation. Just do a Twitter search: it has been tweeted uncountable times.

It is so memorable precisely because it seems so common sensical. Above all, it often rings a familiar bell. For if you have ever traveled with anyone you did NOT love, you GET his point immediately.

A relevant point about the short book if you have not read it. To call it a book about Paris is misleading. If “PARIS” is primarily what you are looking for, it will probably disappoint you because it is not really about “PARIS”:

[From the Amazon sample of A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway, published 1964.]

For example, note in those paragraphs we learn that he saw a pretty girl in a café and she stuck in his mind, and he thought, well, I have to write about her, but I can’t, and oh, geez, I have to sharpen my pencil and I need a drink…

That is the overall style of the book. Those paragraphs honestly could have been set in most any city where they have cafés. A Moveable Feast is not a “tourist” guide to 1920s Paris; it is a memoir so is far more about Hemingway writing mostly about, well, Hemingway: what he sees and with whom he happens to be talking or traveling… and, oh, yeh, there is Paris too.

Indeed writers do all end up with an identifiable “style.” It is like having fingerprints. Here is the opening paragraph to an early chapter from his 1926 first – and possibly best – novel that came from many of those life experiences of his (often in Paris), The Sun Also Rises:

[The opening to chapter 3 in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Photo by me, 2020.]

That scene is set in Paris also – and Rises was written about thirty-five years before A Moveable Feast.

Interestingly what have we also learned from those two nearly four decades’ apart excerpts?

Well, we see for one thing that apparently he also spent a lot of time in restaurants/cafés noticing pretty girls. LOL!

Hope you are having a good weekend, wherever you are. 🙂