Conversations June 13, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

6 AM. All right, boys and girls, here we go again. At least, I’m here if you’re here. Papa, I sort of miss talking to you specifically, but I get that this information is following rules of its own, sort of like a lesson-plan. So, whomever.

One of the difficulties, as you perceive it, is that although the information will be read in easy succession, so that what took you a week to bring forth may be read in one setting, you as you bring it forth cannot remember even the previous day’s information, let alone a week’s worth or the entire picture. But after all, this is only your usual situation in life, living in time-slices, concentrating on each successive stone in the mosaic, unable to sit far enough away to see it in an over-all view. There’s nothing wrong with it; this is how it should be. You do the detail work, we guide the pattern, and at the end you can read the final product (or, in the case of a writer, read and reshape) and perhaps for the first time see what you have been doing as it relates to itself, one piece to another, and as it relates to life.

Continue reading Conversations June 13, 2010

Conversations with Hemingway (9)

Friday, May 7, 2010

8:30 AM. Papa, do you have a selected topic this morning?

We could go wherever you wish, provided that we talk about my inner reality as I experienced it or you imagine it.

Yes, don’t think that isn’t always in my mind!

You are doing all right. Just continue as you’re going.

Continue reading Conversations with Hemingway (9)

Carl Jung: “There are demons, all right”

Here is  a Carl Jung quote from long ago that I think highly appropriate to our time. It comes from the book C.G. Jung Speaking, edited by William McGuire and R.F.C. Hull, volume 97 (XCVII) of the Bollingen Series of publications.

This interview with Peter Schmid was published on May 11, 1945 — only four days after Germany’s unconditional surrender at the end of World War II — in a Zürich periodical under the title “Will the souls find peace?” I think Jung’s incidental prophecy of the danger faced by the victorious Americans was fully realized in the following decades. Indeed, it often seems that most people haven’t yet realized that we, no less than the Russians, succumbed to the power demons. The underlinings below are mine.
Continue reading Carl Jung: “There are demons, all right”

Papa Hemingway’s unfinished business

On July 2, 1961, Ernest Hemingway, old and ill, shot himself to death – “took the family exit,” to put it his way, as he was neither the first nor the last Hemingway to kill himself. My column this month for The Meta Arts concerns some unfinished business of his. Not a retrieval – he himself told me when I contacted him first that it wasn’t necessary. Something else, instead.  I wish we could find someone to finish it.
Continue reading Papa Hemingway’s unfinished business

Aanenson’s sacrifice

Did you watch the Ken Burns film series on PBS called “The War”? If not, probably you should. This series doesn’t glorify war, or glamorize it, or paint our soldiers as angels and the soldiers on the opposite side as devils. It doesn’t pretend that war is good for children or other living things. Nor does it concentrate on strategy or tactics, such topics having been covered often and sometimes excellently in the past half century. (I think, for instance, of the films called “Victory at Sea.”) Instead, “The War” concentrates on the human side, civilian as well as military, of a society at war.

I have heard that some people decided not to watch it because they disapprove of war. But it seems to me that if that generation could go through it, we can go through watching it.

It makes painful watching.

I began reading about the war while I was still in my early teens, as the first spate of histories were coming out. After so much reading, I would have thought that all I could learn at this point would be detail. But until I watched an ex-fighter pilot named Quentin Aanenson talk about his experiences, I never fully understood that the boys who had to fight were scarred not just by what had happened to them, but by what they had had to do. Continue reading Aanenson’s sacrifice