Fiction

Ernest Hemingway at the Finca Vigia, Cuba - NA...

Ernest Hemingway at the Finca Vigia, Cuba – NARA – 192663 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Novelist Ann Patchett got it dead right: non-fiction is easy, fiction a slog. It’s the most hateful thing in the world, that blank screen. People who write fiction tend to be of a uniquely masochistic  ilk, driven by the cruel demands of their trade to drinking and jumping off bridges. For a very small number the rewards are spectacular, although often by the time they arrive the damage has already been done. Ernest Hemingway was fifty-five when he got the Nobel Prize. He was three weeks short of his sixty-second birthday the morning he loaded two shells into his favorite shotgun, put the barrel in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. Among the detritus of  empty bottles and embittered ex-wives he left Finca Vigia, an airy and unostentatious farmhouse on a hill outside Havana. Walk from the house down to the pool where Ava Gardner swam naked, and beyond the pool, propped on blocks and ringed by a low platform, you can see his beloved boat, Pilar. Or perhaps not.

Why not? Gentle reader, read on …

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