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Thread: In Search of Hemingway.

  1. #1
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    In Search of Hemingway.

    In Search of Hemingway.

    Chapter 1,

    If one is to believe the trite saying that “a journey is more important than arriving”, then any aspiring writer; unknown to the world and below the glossy magazine radar, should always grasp the advantages implicit therein of their seemingly low-key mortal existence.

    The case in point in this instance, was an Englishman of a classical educational upbringing seeking out Papa Hemingway in one of the main surroundings that appeared to have contributed significantly to his genius.

    Not that Arthur St Germain was not versed in the European world of literature.

    Educated back home in expensive private schools by well to do parents; his formative upbringing had imbued him with a comprehension of all the greats in English literature.

    Later he had expanded a natural inclination to explore the French, German, Italian and Russian writers as well.

    Yet time and time again, he returned to Papa Hemingway. The first reading of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was the eyeopener. “Fiesta” drew him in even more. And all the while, there was this constant question in his mind, as to what it was that shaped the man himself. Superficially, there was the: drinking, the succession of wives and the search for danger. But all this failed to either answer or satisfy.

    It was thus, at the age of forty-five that Arthur found himself for the first time in Cuba; a country and a people that seemed to encapsulate all that Papa loved and from which he derived so much.

    He arrived by plane on a Tuesday evening in September. The weather was, (as all the year round), hot and sunny. Rain had fallen during the night and there was a clean freshness in the air. A yellow 1950’s Studebaker, complete with tail fins picked him from the airport and took him to one of the poorer parts of Havana. His destination, was a “Casa Particular” (a private home), where the government now allowed Cuban families to rent out one of their extra bedrooms to tourists, and where often the family would cook for you.

    He wanted on this visit to observe, yet stay detached. To absorb a city that was falling into a kind of perverse timeworn splendour and disrepair; bereft of shop signs or neon lights; akin a time machine back in the 1950s; yet where against the magnificence of the decaying architecture there was a vibrance in the human element, unsuppressed and constant.

    The journey took them past the Malecon sea wall, a magnet for tourists and Cubans alike.

    This was the superficial outer skin of Cuba, where old Europeans from the cruise ships looked to get laid in memory of their youthful dawn, and where backpackers felt they had arrived at where it was at. Wide eyed Miami tourists with cameras, distinct in garish shorts mingled as best they could with the locals. Whilst the jinetera and their opportunistic amateur pimps viewed the implicit potential in feeding off the migrating herds.

  2. #2
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Auspicious beginning, Manichaean!
    "To absorb a city that was falling into a kind of perverse timeworn splendour and disrepair; bereft of shop signs or neon lights; akin a time machine back in the 1950s; yet where against the magnificence of the decaying architecture there was a vibrance in the human element, unsuppressed and constant." Yea!
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  3. #3
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Thank you my friend.

    This one has been brewing in my head for a long time, and getting that first chapter out of the blocks is always difficult.

    I honestly have no idea where it will go, but lets enjoy the journey anyway.

    Take care buddy.
    M.

  4. #4
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Chapter 2.

    Arriving at the destination as the sun was beginning to set, the taxi driver knocked on the door of a building reminiscent of those that the Spanish colonialists brought to Havana in the 1500s. Moorish-styled and amended to take the conditions of the New World into account. A semi-enclosed porch and windows fitted with security bars, thus allowing for said apertures be left open continuously as a nod to the humidity.

    The owner, Carlos introduced himself and ushered him in. There was an immediate sense of incongruity about the entire setup. Carlos’s family consisted of eight members, inclusive a young slim very attractive daughter who established, like a hawk from coven sprung, eye contact from the outset. Not that the mother and the rest of the brood were not wide eyed and inquisitive as to this new arrival in their midst.

    He later established that there were in the family eight members cramped into a small two-bedroom unit. Arthur on the other hand was bequeathed a whole apartment above.

    The reasoning understandably lay in the reality of the financial set up in Cuba where most families are relatively poor making about $20 to $30 a month from whoever is employed. The country has two currencies: the CUP used by locals and the CUC is for tourists equal to 1 US $. Thus, for Carlos the renting out of the apartment above was the lifeline that sustained his large family, whatever the disparity of living arrangements therein.



    Arthur unpacked his two suitcases and placed the portable typewriter on the heavy wooden desk.

    Outside, the street below the window balcony drew sustenance from an emerging vibrant night life.

    The journey over, he settled back upon the bed, viewing the slowly moving ceiling fan, whilst a gecko was engaged in push ups on the mottled plaster wall opposite.

    Ernest Hemingway sat in the corner chair adjacent the window.

    He had been in purgatory for what seemed aeons since his demise.

    Perhaps I should explain at this juncture that purgatory is normally defined, (especially to those of the Catholic persuasion), as a kind of fire, which is expiatory and purifying, not punitive like hell fire. It is a kind of intermediate state after physical death, wherby there is executed the final purification of the elect, which in itself is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.

    Whatever the dogma on this subject, what cannot be denied in this instance, was that the great man, despite being attired in cotton shirt and loose beige slacks, was still hot in that apartment chair.

    He had upon death accepted with good grace, (and even sympathy), his current status; for though not an evil man as such, he knew he had transgressed, both in his mortal life and in the act of suicide itself, which had definitely placed him beyond the Pale.

    It is worthy also to note that at the time, the Dark Gentleman himself was somewhat peeved that he had not been able to add a bit of literary class to his own establishment, situated at a lower level.

    But back to the moment, and Hemingway was surprisingly able to find himself back in present day Cuba in the company of this seeming devotee to his mortal craft.

    He settled back in his chair, legs crossed and viewed Arthur from across eternity.
    Last edited by MANICHAEAN; 10-02-2021 at 11:42 AM.

  5. #5
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Well that twist introducing Hemingway was quite unexpected!
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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