11 May 2006

Papa Can You Hear Me?

Entrance to Hemingway's Key West Home

One of the many cats, that hold free reign over Hemingway House, lays on a display case.

The work room where Hemingway wrote Farwell to Arms

The last “official” thing I did this morning in Key West was tour Hemingway’s house. The biggest problem I have with most tours is that the place you are touring usually becomes stale. The masses come and listen to a $6.00/hour tour guide try and remember what their lines are. Sanitation of the site takes the driver’s seat and the experience of the place is somewhere buried under the spare tire. I do my homework before going to any historical site and skip the guided stuff. I can’t say that I had any cosmic connection with Hemingway at his Key’s home, but there was a glimmer of Papa there.

There was an older gentleman that was taking money in a small hut at the home’s entrance. He was an older sartorial gentleman with a Virginia accent. Striking up a conversation with me, I found out that he was a Professor and could name 20 colleges and universities around my Athens of the South. (Dutifully, a cat was lying on the money box evaluating the man’s job.) Then suddenly he asks me why I had come to the house. It was almost like he truly was the gate keeper for what the home stood for.

“To see what inspired Hemingway when he looked out his window”, I told him.

“Tell me on the way out if you get what you came here for then”, the older man told me.

Walking through the grounds, I think I did get what I had come for. Although the house was full of “No Admittance” signs, and treasures under glass, there was glimmer of what the house was when Hemmingway lived there.

After poking around the grounds and home for a little while, I could see why a man could write a novel here. It is peaceful. Even with all the tourists and construction around the house, this space stepped out of that. The sounds and press of 21st century life were not present here. I can’t imagine what it must have been like in the 30’s. No trappings of text messages or CNN, just time to reflect and think.

That’s the key to Hemingway, isn’t it? It wasn’t what Hemingway did while he was at this house that was important to his work. His home in Key West was as necessary a tool for him as lap tops and email are to us. It was a quite place he could weave his adventures into the fiction we all know. To think of a man like Hemingway as being tied to a single point is silly. What mattered to Hemmingway was everything to happen outside of his home.

At the point I figured that out, I left Hemingway house and Key West. I had gotten all I had come for.

1 comment:

WordSmith said...

I think we should pool our money and have a writer's meeting at Ernie's shack. Man...I bet that was awesome....just the pictures make me want to sit under a shade somewhere and write and think. Very cool!