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la vie quotidienne

April 3, 2010

This week provided the first real days that it was comfortable to sit outside and have a beer or glass of wine and eat some food with friends leisurely; when you have all of these things you really aren’t lacking anything at all.  A few weeks back I picked up a copy of a book called The True Gen, a recount of Ernest Hemingway’s character by people who knew him.  If you don’t know much about the man’s biography then it probably won’t interest you much, but I happen to have read far too much about Hemingway during college, including a 5 volume monster that hardly left out a day of his life.  The True Gen is interesting (though nothing too spectacular) but it’s gotten me thinking about Hemingway again, something I used to do often.  Before I ever lived in Europe, it was Hemingway’s words that burned images in my mind of all the things I hoped to one day see there, and I think when I first arrived on the continent I was trying to chase down whatever it was that Hemingway had captured in his books and, more importantly, in the great myth that became his real life.  He was a notorious fabricator who spun a story to suit his audience, all in an effort to build his reputation as the man who knew how to hunt big game and to fish marlin in the Caribbean, seduce women, and order the right food and the right wine to go with it.

What Hemingway got right, more than anything else, were the details.  He described the quotidian charms of daily life in a manner that excited you to go to the market, order a drink at a cafe, or lay in bed with the person you love.  The daily details – they’re definitely what is worth focusing on.

No. 275: 4/3/2010

But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing
was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor
the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of
someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.

– Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

No. 276: 4/2/2010

Nos. 277: 4/1/2010

Street tar in summer will do a job on your soul.

– Spoon, Black Like Me

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 16, 2010 4:35 pm

    I am back from Paris and that Hemingway’s quote is doing the trick so well to me…

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