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back from the weekend, with very little reading, just a touch of Hemingway.

Hello friends. Thanks for bearing with me. Life is busy. I have this job, see. And I’m taking this class in Database Searching which is fab but takes up time. And I’m trying to be back on this bike and train for the Ouachita Challenge, and we took that vacation, and, and. Thanks for bearing with me.

I had a great weekend, very productive. On Saturday I got to ride bikes with the Husband who made it home from Newark earlier than expected; we planted a tree and did some yard stuff; my mother brought us a beautiful quilt she made for us; and I finally photographed for you of a beautiful set of bookshelves the Husband made (several weeks ago now). Pictures:

Mother and Husband with swamp cypress oak and whimsical wheelbarrow herb garden


whimsical wheelbarrow herb garden with dragonfly


Encyclopaedia Britannica bookshelves, courtesy of Husband (please ignore electronic mess)


close-up Encyclopaedia Britannica shelves


beautiful "union" t-shirt quilt courtesy of Mother


This is an elaborate, beautifully crafted quilt made up of (cycling) event t-shirts belonging to the Husband and myself. It is our wedding gift (we will soon be married 3 years, this is not a fast process) from my Mother and it’s a “union” quilt because it symbolizes our union, combining our two histories of bicycle racing as it does. It’s so lovely, we don’t know what to do with the little dogs who like to muss up bedcoverings.

close-up of quilt: notice Chihuahuan Desert Challenge (earlier incarnation of the trip we just took to Big Bend) and above, the Warda Race (earlier incarnation of the race I did yesterday)

Aren’t I a lucky girl? And that was Saturday.

Yesterday – Sunday – I headed out to race Bikesport Presents the Warda Race. Without boring you too much (hopefully), I will say that I have gotten fat & out of shape while being off the bike for an unexpectedly long time this past fall & winter, and I knew this race would be a rude awakening. So, I did the reasonable thing and signed up for not the Category 2 Men, not the Category 1 Women, but the Pro Women’s race. This got me an extra lap of pain and suffering and embarrassment in my currently-undersized spandex. It went as expected. But, this kind of pain and suffering is going to get me back on track. I’m now less than 5 weeks away from the Ouachita Challenge, so it’s time to get to work.

This busy, productive, and happy weekend did not leave time for much reading. I don’t think I did any reading, in fact. So today I’m back on By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, and very happy to be. I shall make a few bookish remarks so this blog doesn’t seem too much a sham, ok?

I really enjoy reading Hemingway’s short articles and dispatches. I can’t believe it took me this long to pick up on this little pleasure. I have always loved him and have devoured all his novels, several of his nonfiction works (and I think you really have to love Hemingway to get through Death in the Afternoon – or bull-fighting, perhaps – but I actually did enjoy it), and I THINK I’ve read all his short stories – I’ve got a collection of collections. But somehow this collection of his journalism has eluded me til now.

These are short pieces of writing, covering his international travels, war and international politics, fishing, hunting, and general lifestyle. It seems that then, as now, this man’s life was of some interest; he had outrageous adventures (how much he’s elaborated or exaggerated them, would be a subject for another post) and saw outrageous sights. Hemingway’s fiction was heavily based on fact, and I fear his journalism might be tinged with fiction, especially where the Exploits of Papa are concerned. This is one of the mysteries and controversies of Hemingway. It may not be a popular feminist position to take, but I adore Hemingway for his work, even if he wasn’t a savory character – let alone a good husband. To any of his wives.

I was contemplating today, as I read some hunting-and-fishing stories he wrote for Esquire, that one of the Hemingway’s most beautiful and rare talents, is that he makes me care about things I don’t care about. I don’t care for hunting or fishing. These activities are not interesting to me; and in some cases I find hunting downright distasteful. But when Hemingway describes the way a fish, or a bird, moves, or the battle between the fisherman and his prey a la The Old Man and the Sea, or when he describes the experience of the bottle of icy cold white wine he’s had stuck down in the cold trout stream all day – I can taste the wine, and I care about the fish. He makes me taste and feel things very vibrantly, even things I’ve never experienced. He’s a very visceral writer.

In the same way, I’ve always said one of my favorite things about the Drive-by Truckers is their ability to make me care about things I don’t care about. For example, car racing is not interesting to me. But just about every time I hear a recording of them playing Daddy’s Cup (and I’ve heard it a lot), I cry. Take a moment and listen, yourself. (The video portion of this video is just filler. You’re there for the audio. Close your eyes.)

I’ve even sent the Husband (who does care about fishing) a short article by Hemingway to read, and the Husband, who doesn’t read, did enjoy it. The Husband prefers to DO things rather than sit around and read about them (we don’t watch movies, because two hours is too long to sit down – I love that he’s a do-er), but perhaps he can appreciate that Hemingway makes his reader feel the action, the doing of it.

I may be moving slowly these days, but a nice compilation like this, of short stories, or newspaper articles, or what have you, is just the thing for a part-time reader. Thanks for bearing with me and my busy life, and have a happy Monday!

4 Responses

  1. Oh, the quilt is AMAZING! I love it!

    And the bookshelves. How clever is that? How on earth did he manage it? Really strong glue?

  2. Thanks! I do have talented people don’t I? 🙂
    We took the pages out of the encyclopedia, he built a standard bookshelf with boards purchased for their dimensions which exactly matched the insides of the book covers, and then he covered the shelves with the book covers. (yes glue.) I had no idea how he was going to go about it but it came out well!
    We got the idea here, and I have no idea how that guy does it, but my capable Husband figured out his way very easily.
    Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  3. […] Ernest Hemingway has been discussed here before. I’m still not quite […]

  4. […] bookshelves that Husband built me, gosh, almost a year ago? (They were mentioned, and pictured, here and here.) They’re still serving as my TBR shelves, and I have done some cleanup and […]

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