This is a tribute to Ernest Hemingway. It’s to say thank you to the man and to the writer, and to credit the enduring legacy of his work.

Hemingway is my favorite author, so I have a bit of a bias on this matter, but I thought it would be a great time to rehash his life and legacy, given that I’m writing this post on the day of his birth. He was born back in 1899 and lived until 1961, when he died by suicide. In his lifetime, he accrued his fair share of lovers and haters (no joke intended on that first one, though he did have four wives). And in death, the controversy of his life and legacy have become all the more significant.

Why am I writing a tribute to Ernest Hemingway?

Because when you cut to the heart of things, Hemingway was a great man. Not in the sense that he was a superior moral being, but in the sense that he did great things. He wrote great things. 

My favorite novel of all time is a Hemingway novel that was published after his death and heavily edited. I’m talking about The Garden of EdenRead it. And then affirm to me that you did not know Hemingway had it in him to write a female character with such complexity as Catherine Bourne. Because I didn’t know, until I read that book. 

If you’re looking for more classic Hemingway, I highly recommend his first novel, The Sun Also Rises. A beautiful read. For a true shot through the veins of his iconic style, try The Old Man and the Sea, which is pretty short to boot. And if you’re looking for a laugh, try A Moveable Feast, his semi-autobiographical memoir about the time he spent in Paris.

I think that every writer of literary fiction should read at least one of Hemingway’s works.

Even if you decide you hate his style, or even if you hate the man himself, his work had an unarguable impact on the literary world, and for this reason I urge you to read at least one of his novels. Or one of his short story collections. Read something that will give you a taste of his style. He’s the master of word economy. Reading Hemingway was important for my writing development. I had worried for a long time that I couldn’t be a good fiction writer without filling my works with pages of dazzling description and purple prose. After I read Hemingway, I changed my mind on that matter. Clarity and concision to the max!

Here’s one of my favorites of his. It’s a six-word story, and we don’t know for sure whether Hemingway wrote it, but legend has it that he won a bet by writing it. Did he write it? We may never know! But it’s this type of thing I’m going for when I write very short poetry like my recent poem “Mask.” 

For sale: Baby shoes, never worn. 

It’s a story, no doubt. A six-word story. So, as a Hemingway-inspired challenge, I challenge you to write a six-word story in the comments. Mine?

 I’m seeking: Someone faithful. And taller.

 

Would love to see some six-word stories! You can go up to ten words, if you want. Or tell me what you think about Hemingway and his work. And read some of Hemingway’s hilarious “Six-word Sequels” if you’re looking for a laugh.

I hope you enjoyed “A Tribute to Ernest Hemingway,” and thank you for reading!

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