I’ve Got a Crush

Confession time:

I’ve had my eyes on a man for a while.

He’s not exactly my type…if I had a type.  Everyone I know has an opinion about him and not all of them are flattering. And I can understand that. He was kind of a scoundrel.

But there’s something in his brashness that speaks to me; fills in what I’m not, you know? He was an adventurer and trouble. The capital T kind. But he was also an artist.

Some would disagree, but I think he understood something about dealing with words that I want to grasp.

So yeah, I have a thing for Ernest Hemingway.

Seriously. The man was a fox.

Don’t judge. Not all of us are Dickens girls. Plus Hemingway is way better on the eyes.

If you’re a nerdy writer, I’m sure you have your own literary crush. Don’t pretend you don’t. There is that person who’s style differs from yours, or you aspire to be them, or their stories just do it for you. Ernest Hemingway is mine.

I read Ernest’s quotes often. (And yes, I call him Ernest because I like to pretend we’re on a first name basis…) Here are some of the gems I’ve treasured:

As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.

The first draft of anything is shit.

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.

Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the Romance of the unusual. 

When I’m not sure how to make words, I turn to Ernest.

Unlike me, Ernest didn’t dance around a hard scene. He just put it out there. I’m sure he, like any of us, struggled with getting what was put down right, but he didn’t disguise his troubled spots with flowery prose. He didn’t even know what flowery was.

No, he wrestled until what he wanted to say was simple, straightforward. There for the reader to figure out.

When I get stuck, I look to a sketch I keep at my desk made for me by a friend. (Inspired by my tendency to say “Hemingway was a fox,” she drew Ernest’s face on a fox’s body.) I let Fox Hemingway give me a stern look in the eyes.

My job is to tell my story honestly. And I’ve got his blessing for it to be shitty. But I need to put it down because if I don’t, then I’ve got nothing to work with.
And no, my style is not his style, Nor do I want it to be.
But Ernest knew what he was doing. And he’s taught me a bit on how to make the words.
It’s not dancing the night away in Havana with him, but it’s something and I’m a better artist for it.
Who’s your literary crush? Any writers in your world that have helped make you better from beyond the grave?
I’d love to hear about your influences!
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