I believe Ernest Hemingway is one of the greatest wordsmiths of all time. His ability to describe a scene, a person, a feeling in bold, simple words borders on perfection. I admit, (don’t hate me) I don’t love his books. There I’ve said it out loud. They are full of war and blood and ugly things like boxing and bull fighting that I’m not good at reading.
But his personal story tugs at me.
Hemingway was young, and he burned to be a writer. So, he moved to Paris and wrote. He didn’t let anyone or anything get in his way of that. He knocked down, or ignored, all of the proverbial roadblocks in his way to achieving his dream. Ahhh talk about a dream chaser. He would disappear for hours or days, completely focused, totally immersed in his writing. He didn’t tweet about his characters or check his email for word from his agent. He isolated himself from distractions and dove into the words that filled his head.
When I was recently in Paris, I sought out the famed Le Deux Magots—the café where Hemingway penned A Moveable Feast. The café where Ernest and F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce and Ezra Pound frequented together in the early 1920’s.
Les Deux Magots was harder to find than I’d imagined. My husband and I walked up one side of Boulevard Saint Germain and down the other. We walked so far, we had to hop the metro and backtrack three stops. I am blessed to have a husband who is:
1. Extremely patient with me
2. Has a built in compass, where I obviously, was born without one
3. Incredibly supportive of my dreams
Forty-five minutes after the begin of our search I exclaimed, “There it is.” It was a café, plain and simple, like hundreds of others that litter the Parisian sidewalks. But my eyes welled up. There was that pinch on the bridge of my nose and the warm feeling seeping from my heart. Perhaps the struggle to find Les Deux Magots made it all that much more powerful when I found it.
This was the place where creative geniuses congregated, where stories were exchanged and ideas shared by some of the most proclaimed literary artists of all time. I felt a rush of inspiration to create, to write because it’s how God made me. Not because I had a deadline or an interview I needed to respond to or a clock ticking, but because it’s what God placed in my heart to do.
After taking a photo for my scrapbook, my husband said, “Let’s sit.” And we did. We sat in the café, sunshine warming our faces and ordered from our waiter donned in a formal dinner jacket watching the passersby and dreaming.
Hemingway’s life was full of pain and turmoil. I do not envy his life. But his passion—his desire to fuel his dream, to write and write and write—I admire.
What is your passion? How can you fuel your dream today?
Laura L. Smith