Hemingway on Paul Potts and Harry Morgan

[For those who came in late: We think of the dead as gone, but it is not so.  Their souls live on, as alive as when they were here, but now outside of time and space. When we communicate with them, they know what we know, and can react to that knowledge as they might have reacted to anything that happened while they were on this side. And so we can communicate with them about the things in our life, and get the benefit of viewpoints formed in very different environments of space and time.

[How reliable the messages we receive seems  to depend a lot on our ability to keep our own ego out of it, and no doubt upon other things that vary our ability to receive from one moment to the next. Those looking for certainty won’t find it here. But the question is less “Can this be proven” than “Does this information resonate?”

[In this context, I present a little conversation with Hemingway about the English opera singer who just burst upon the scene via a talent contest.]

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I think I am so taken by Paul Potts because he says his voice was his best friend. He was bullied a lot for reasons he never understood (he was a bit different, that’s all it took) but he could always sing and he says, when he sings, “I’m in the place I should be.” You can see it, watching him on stage, when he is or isn’t singing. He goes from an extreme of diffidence and looking uncomfortable to — when he is singing — being totally authoritative. It is as though there was another soul emerging, his true soul, he’d say, probably.

I know what it is to be different and to be bullied and to have to be my own best friend. I know what it is to have no self-confidence except when I’m doing what I was born to do. He though had courage enough to compete, and now it has paid off for him. God grant that he not lose himself.

Papa, what would you — what do you — think of Paul Potts and my reading of his life? 

You wouldn’t think to connect him with Harry Morgan, but think of what I was showing in To Have and Have Not: Everything had gotten so big, interconnections were so far beyond the individual, that it was hard for the individual to go his own way as he always had. That is what broke Harry Morgan: He had to get into things involving too many unreliable or hostile people, and it got beyond his ability to control the situation.

Paul Potts was bullied and he found refuge in his talent. He pushed on and found himself on the brink of ruin. Only by staying true to his gift, which means true to himself, did he save himself by entering the competition that put him into another world that until then he could not enter.

Will he be able to stay true to himself? If he stays true to the gift and not the trappings, he can do it. Otherwise I’d say his chances aren’t much better than Harry Morgan’s: He will get into deep waters, into a situation he can’t control or direct or even understand, and it will kill him.

We will hope for the best, and trust that he was fashioned to provide a model for people needing hope.

The question is simple but as always it is the crucial question: Can he stay true to himself, true to his gift? But there wouldn’t be much point in fashioning an experiment that couldn’t fail. Even Jesus could have failed. Think how tedious it would be, if we could not!

2 thoughts on “Hemingway on Paul Potts and Harry Morgan

  1. Hopefully, Paul has enough of the Fool archetype (built-in integrity, like Frodo) not to be corrupted by material success. He just needs to go with the flow of his gift.

  2. Yes, that’s the hope. It’s funny, I never heard of him a week ago, and now I find myself vitally interested in him and actually a bit fearful for him. But as you say, hopefully he has the built-in integrity to stay on the beam.

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