a moveable feast


Ernest Hemingway, 1964
Sep 23, 2022 → Oct 13, 2022

  • 'What about a red wine?' he asked. I would walk it off afterwards along the quais. He could sleep it off, or do what he wanted to. I might take mine some place, I thought.
  • It was sad when the park was closed and locked and I was sad walking around it instead of through it.
  • Creation's probably overrated. After all, God made the world in only six days and rested on the seventh.
  • A pencil-lead might break off in the conical nose of the pencil sharpener and you would use the small blade of the penknife to clear it or else sharpen the pencil carefully with the sharp blade and then slip your arm through the sweat-salted leather of your pack strap to lift the pack again, get the other arm through and feel the weight settle on your back and feel the pine needles under your moccasins as you started down for the lake. Then you would hear someone say, 'Hi, Hem. What are you trying to do? Write in a cafe?'
  • I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, 'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'
  • If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.
  • Since I had started to break down all my writing and get rid of all facility and try to make instead of describe, writing had been wonderful to do. But it was very difficult, and I did not know how I would ever write anything as long as a novel. It often took me a full morning of work to write a paragraph.
  • but I knew too that I must write a novel. I would put it off though until I could not help doing it. I was damned if I would write one because it was what I should do if we were to eat regularly. When I had to write it, then it would be the only thing to do and there would be no choice. Let the pressure build. In the meantime I would write a long story about whatever I knew best.
  • I sat in a corner with the afternoon light coming in over my shoulder and wrote in the notebook. The waiter brought me a cafe creme and I drank half of it when it cooled and left it on the table while I wrote.
  • To have come on all this new world of writing, with time to read in a city like Paris where there was a way of living well and working, no matter how poor you were, was like having a great treasure given to you.
  • I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
  • All I must do now was stay sound and good in my head until morning when I would start to work again.
  • You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.
  • Alone there was no problem when you got used to it. I could always go to a cafe to write and could work all morning over a cafe creme while the waiters cleaned and swept out the cafe and it gradually grew warmer.
  • I did my business in New York and when I got back to Paris I should have caught the first train from the Gare de l'Est that would take me down to Austria. But the girl I was in love with was in Paris then, and I did not take the first train, or the second or the third.
  • There Is Never Any End to Paris
  • Paris was never to be the same again although it was always Paris and you changed as it changed. There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.

note mentions