Hemingway and writing
After debating writing a book about my experience on Denali, I have searched for wisdom and insight. The reader needs to be compelled to read the experience, to live it with me. As this writer shared:
the difference between Henry Miller and Ernest Hemingway is stark. But what’s most interesting is the response to the blog entry. One person commented essentially that Hemingway’s novels had sad, pointless endings. A Farewell to Arms can be viewed in this way, certainly.
Please read the comment by commenter Lobh. It’s enlightening. As it’s not my writing, I won’t cut and paste it here. But it’s worth a perusal.
For my rebuttal, I wrote the following:
So often life doesn’t end with a bright red bow and a Lexus waiting in the driveway for the hero, male or female. Hemingway’s writing is a much better reflection of life than so many other works that have a complete, happy ending. That’s not life.
His works reflect the great complexities and difficulties we all face with unclear, unsatisfying, and ugly endings. Is anyone’s death pointless? Go ask a person who just lost their spouse. Was the death pointless? In this analysis, yes. And if you said that, you’d likely get punched in the beak.
Frodo should have gotten gangrene and died. That’s what would have really happened, after losing a finger to a mammal-like bite.
Is an Internet debate on a random website worth anything? Arguably, no. But after reading and listening to many of Hemingway’s works, I can see why he is still regarded as one of the greatest writers of the modern American era. He writes with passion, simplicity, and can make you feel what the characters are feeling.
I attempt this in all of my writing.
Sometimes I succeeded, oftentimes I failed. When writing Antarctic Tears, my original draft came in at a hefty 120,000 words. My editor proceeded to chop 15,000 words in the first draft. That’s 1/4 of an entire standard novel. As I looked at the pages of red lines and ink, my heart sank a bit. I wrote a huge chunk of book that would never see the light of day.
And then, after looking at the first draft years later, I’m so glad none of those words made it to print. They didn’t have what I cherish about Hemingway’s writing – connection, energy, and motion.
As I embark on writing my next book about my Denali climbing experience, my goal is to take the reader there. To have them experience the extreme cold and heat, raging winds, and complete silence. Denali has been climbed by many. It’s only been climbed by a few soloist every year, as I attempted to do. But what most don’t know is what it’s really like to be in Alaska, on a massive glacier, surrounded by bottomless crevasses. And, to be there on one’s own.
Wish me luck.