Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Haunted by Hemingway at Midnight in Paris

Just me and the butcher taking a little stroll around Paris. Photo credit: Sony Picture Classics
Woody Allen was brilliant in creating the new film Midnight in Paris.

You don't even have to think he was brilliant or the film was brilliant to know the idea was brilliant.

Back when Woody Allen was thinking up the seed of the film, which became Midnight in Paris, he must have wondered, "Now what time in history would I like to recreate?" Naturally, for any writer, the answer would be Paris in the 1920s when Hemingway was smack dab in the middle of living what became A Moveable Feast.

Even if you don't like Woody Allen films... (?!!)
Even if you're not into Owen Wilson... (?!?!!?)
Even if romantic comedies aren't your thing.... (?!?!?!?!?!@#%#$!!!)

Seeing Paris recreated as the 1920s with Hemingway and his cronies is worth it.

And now this modern day writer, yours truly, is trying to recreate a literary life like that of Mr. Hemingway. 

Hemingway says of A Movable Feast, "This book contains material from the remises of my memory and of my heart. Even if the one has been tampered with and the other does not exists." Brilliant.

I'm living where he lived... just down the rue. I'm writing and reading and walking where he wrote, read and walked. I'm hanging in cafés where he milked every café creme for all it was worth... which you do when they are $4 a pop. It's all about renting the seat and less about the caffeine anyway. And I'm dining in the restaurants around the city where he dined in his moveable feast.

And when I need help with writing, I pick up one of his books to conjure him for assistance. When I've got nothing to write, he tells me, "Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know."

And when I get concerned that I don't have friends in Paris, he reminds me of when he was in Paris. "The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits."

And when I feel like what I write isn't enough, he reminds me that Ezra Pound was, "the man who believed in the mot juste—the one and only correct word to use—the man who had taught me to distrust adjectives as I would later learn to distrust certain people in certain given situations."

Hemingway. Always there when I need him. In book form and formless, and now on screen in Midnight in Paris.

It's like he's haunting me while I'm exploring his Paris haunts.

But it's a good haunting.

Glad to hear that.

Who said that?  


  1. I'm stepping out of the lurking shadow to tell you I was in Paris last week, went to Shakespeare & Company and bought A Moveable Feast there. Have you read The Paris Wife? It's a novelized version of Hemingway's first marriage, told in the voice of his wife Hadley. So very good. And now I will have to see Midnight in Paris...

  2. Ooh, I love Mr. Hemingway. I thought the same thoughts while I was in those cafes too. And Mr. Fitzgerald too.

  3. AnonymousJune 16, 2011

    But would you emulate this Mr. Hemingway?

  4. Seré, I saw The Paris Wife and the bookseller recommended it, but said to read it after A Moveable Feast. With your additional recommendation, it's next on my list!

  5. How did I miss this post?! So good! A Moveable Feast is one of my favorite books. I need to go see the movie now!

    You are doing a much better job of being Hemingwayish than I did when I went to Europe for 6 weeks. I remember having the best intentions and then failing quite miserably... Go you! Someday someone may be blogging about how you're haunting her somewhere!


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