Way of the Heming

Develop a built-in bullsh*t detector.

A lofty body of work materialized from Ernest Hemingway’s (1899-1961) exploits, which included service in WWI & II, travel, fishing, bullfight observation, hunting and womanizing.

Gored Matador


“One of the best things about being a writer,” he wrote to pal Ezra Pound, “is when you’re having the wildest time…you’re still working, or at least you should be.”

Indeed, Hemingway seemed to chart his life according to what inspired compelling content.

The Way of Heming was to frequently shake up his life like a cocktail. He had four non-simultaneous wives. He made homes in Illinois, Wyoming, Paris, Florida, Cuba and Idaho. In Paris, he and his bohemian buddies comprised “The Lost Generation,” WWI-era aimless, creative twenty-somethings. He got wasted with James Joyce and bickered with Gertrude Stein. At one point, he owned dozens of polydactyl cats.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest, possibly hungover

Perhaps oscillating Ernest was also given to change because of his manic depression. Happiness can be eternally hunted for in novelty.

In addition, Hemingway was an avid lush, quaffing daquiris, rum and whiskey, no doubt with a fat cigar propped up in his lips. Cloaked in a flannel, checkered shirt, he espoused art, sport and nature over politics, economics and fashion.

The shortest answer is doing the thing.

Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway living the lion slayer dream

This elusive quote is like a pre-redneck “git ‘er done.” In keeping with this tenet, Hemingway lived a colorful, active life. He woke up early and wrote 500 words on foot. He poured himself into whatever activity was at hand. He listened.

Famously, Hemingway ended his life in a similar vein with his favorite shotgun.

Already, I can identify with Hemingway’s deliberate way of, more or less, living as research. Since I began writing, I often make decisions designed to produce unexpected, comical results, e.g. living in a quadrilingual apartment, hopping about the Bolivian desert with a broken foot, working in a carrot factory or undertaking Living Genius. To be Ernest, I will:

  • Retrofit my gullibility with a built-in bullsh*t detector!
  • Pursue noteworthy experiences of art, sport & nature
  • Survey the Lost Generation’s outputs: Pound, Stein, Joyce, Hemingway
  • Wake up early and write 500 words, standing up
  • Hit the bottle!

Now let’s hear from Kenny Chesney, esteemed country music star, on the namesake for his album Hemingway’s Whiskey:

Posted on June 4, 2011, in Genius, Writers and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Newtonian pie for thought: How might Hemingway feel about Chesney? An irritating man-mole who uses his name to make his country music seem deep? Thoughts, Maya S.?

  1. Pingback: The Unimportance of Being Ernest « Living Genius

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