Jul 13, 2012

Failed First - Ernest Hemingway

I have thought about doing this feature for a LONG time but wasn't sure if I could follow through with the commitment to do two regular features, but I keep having the idea to do it so here we go.  Hopefully these will be every Friday...goal.

Sometimes, in almost every endeavor, when we find ourselves in the trenches academically, artistically, musically, we look at the people who have *made it* and wonder if that will ever happen to us.  We forget that it is a very, very rare situation when that famous person didn't fail and fail and fail. 

Today's example is Ernest Hemingway. 


I just finished reading The Paris Wife, which got me thinking about one of my literary heroes.  I really like Hemingway's writing.  I always have.  When friends of mine were bemoaning The Old Man and The Sea, I was enthralled by the character and the struggle.  I read A Farewell to Arms in maybe two or three days because I was so sucked in. 

But Hemingway didn't just spew out novels - he actually started writing articles for newspapers and journals, many of which were rejected.  He wrote in a style that was very different from what was popular then, which pushed people to react poorly because they didn't know how to react. 

But he surrounded himself by great people, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald (how's that for a group of awesome friends) who were all at some degree of success in their careers (sound like any bloggers you know?). They encouraged him that what he truly wrote, not for a paycheck but from his heart, would be seen as a great work. 

When The Sun Also Rises finally got accepted and published, it was with reviewers calling him the great new voice of America.

People, Hemingway struggled when he was starting out, questioning if he was good enough.  He ended up surrounded by people who never quit and told him he shouldn't.  And though he suffered greatly (too greatly in the end) for his craft, he was able to make it, telling the stories that were true to him in the manner that would have his work celebrated as a recipient of the Pulitzer. 

If Hemingway could make it, why can't you?

14 comments :

Donna K. Weaver said...

Yeah, and that's the kind of thing I have to keep telling myself when I look at a project and ask what I think I'm doing. lol

Miranda Hardy said...

I love his story, well with the exception to his end. I'm in awe of his struggles and determination.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's right!

D.G. Hudson said...

I'm a Hemingway fan myself, and I've got For Whom the Bell Tolls waiting in my TBR stack.

I wrote a blogpost 'Hemingway's Hideaway' about my trip to Key West, Florida to see Hem's house. I want a writing studio like he had.

BTW - what got me reading Hemingway again, was 'A Moveable Feast'. It lets you see a little of what the young man was like.

Deana said...

What a great segment!!!! I hope you keep it up because these are the things that are worth hearing:) You gave me some goosebumps here I must say.

Danielle B. said...

Lovely piece! Hem has always been one fo my favs! I'm so glad you featured him.

A true breath of fresh air.

Vero said...

Great way to encourage, by showing potent examples! Thanks for this post.

deathwriter said...

I'm so embarrassed that I've never read any of his books, just some essays.
Maybe I need to add him to my read list:)

Andrew Leon said...

Unfortunately, I really don't like Hemingway. I haven't read The Old Man and the Sea (which I've been meaning to get to for a while, just to see), but I didn't like either of the other two books I had to read by him. His tendency to go on for pages at a time with just dialogue and no tags to show who was talking drove me crazy. Which is why I think Old Man might actually be okay for me, since that dialogue thing isn't an option there.

Which is not to say that I'm not glad he's out there; I just don't care for him.

And you left Indiana Jones off of that list he was friends with. :P

Leigh Covington said...

Great idea for a feature. So inspiring. I like Hemingway and never knew all this about him. Great post Tasha. :)

Tara Tyler said...

thanks for the inspirational story!

i love the movies about him, portraying his boisterous, risk taking personality, too

i could use some of that gumption!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Love the encouragement. I feel surrounded by lots of people who try and help each other. Hopefully, it will lead to success for all of us willing to keep at it.

ali cross said...

I LOVE Hemingway, but I love this post for many reasons and not just because you talked about such a brilliant author. I hope you CAN keep up this feature, Tasha, because I think it's exactly the sort of encouragement we need.

Thank you for sharing this!

Simon Kewin said...

Great post. I couldn't agree more.