Conversations July 29, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

3:20 AM. Good morning, Ernest. On page 81, Baker quotes one of your Nick Adams stories, in which Nick is getting married. “He wondered if it would be this way if he were going to be hanged. Probably. He never could realize anything until it happened.” That last sentence captured me, for some reason, and I couldn’t help wondering what it meant. He could never realize anything until it happened. What did you mean?

Nothing particularly important. I could imagine things in lots of ways, but I couldn’t really make them real to myself, couldn’t grasp a new fact ahead of time. Sort of how you felt as the year 1999 turned into 2000 and you found yourself in a new century forever and couldn’t quite grasp it. You felt like you should feel differently, somehow, and instead you were just you, where you were, and although the century had changed there was nothing to tell it to you but an abstract idea.

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Conversations July 22, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

5:30 AM. Yesterday, as I was very aware, was Hemingway’s birthday. Who would have thought he would come to be so much to me? Finished Reynolds’ volume 1, and started re-reading [Jeffrey] Meyers, slowly, which is more interesting this time than the first time. Have not moved in Baker, waiting to get my questions [to Hemingway] in.

As I have talked to people about what I am doing, the question about certainty has presented itself, or rather, my old knowledge that certainty isn’t possible, only resonance. It’s still conceivable that I’m making all this up, regardless how convincing the contacts feel. And just as I could never prove it to anyone else, neither could I prove it to myself. I am left with Jesus’ test — by their fruits you will know them. So far the fruits are joy as I come to each day’s task, enthusiasm and joy, and insight. Or so it seems. But of course I am aware of the danger of leading myself and others astray.

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Conversations July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

12:30 AM. Papa, let’s talk about your wounding, the out-of-body (or near-death) experience, the aftermath including light, letters, and Agnes, and fear.

All good topics. [Hemingway biographer Carlos] Baker has his uses.

All right. Your first unasked question is — how much of the story as understood is accurate. You’ve read that I carried a man to safety, and you’ve read that it would have been impossible, and you’ve read that I started to, then was hit again and fell and was carried in. You have become wary of anything I said anytime, because of my tendency to spin yarns about my life and exploits. In fact it was this very tendency and your dismay about it that helped hook us up a few years ago. So I’ll try to stick to the trail of the truth.

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Conversations July 6, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4 AM. So, Papa, I started looking into [biographer Carlos] Baker last night, reading a little of your entry to World War I. Should I do it more systematically, or can I just re-read what I want to? Will the job get done either way?

Don’t let this little project get out of proportion. I like your title, but maybe another book about Hemingway is not what the world needs most urgently.

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Conversations July 2, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

5 AM, nearly. Yesterday’s session was wonderful material. Why did it knock me down so — for most of the day, in fact? Or was that unrelated?

You were particularly on the beam yesterday, and so paradoxically enough it came to look like it took more out of you in a shorter time — come to think of it, you might phrase it, “more came through you in a shorter time,” and your body paid a certain price. We’ll watch for you.

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Conversations May 15, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

6:45 AM. From Green Hills Of Africa, nearly the final page:

“We have very primitive emotions,” he said. “It’s impossible not to be competitive. Spoils everything, though.”

“I’m all through with that,” I said. “I’m all right again.”

Continue reading Conversations May 15, 2010