Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rome, A Moveable Feast and a love of Hemingway

One of my first true literary loves is Hemingway. Although I do stray from time to time (with other authors such as Saramago, Bulgakov, Tolstoy, Fitzgerald, Dickens, etc.), the anticipation of reading one of Hemingway’s stories gives me such great pleasure I do not shun him for long. His writing as the man’s man touching on war, boxing and bull fighting, does not deter me because his simple writing style conveys such richness in thought that I am drawn to him and revel in his prose.

The Sun Also Rises has become a book conveying a certain warmth related to “home” for me, possibly due to the time and place I first encountered it. It makes me want to run away to Spain and join the “lost generation” living on words, absinthe and bull fighting.

For the moment, I am reading A Moveable Feast. It is a patchwork of memoirs from Hemingway’s life as an ex-pat in Paris edited by his grandson (there is another version, but this is the one I have). This book calls to me. I want to join him. His writing pulls on my own memories and awakens the chapters of my life from when I lived in Rome, drawing the memories thick and solid- almost real. My thoughts when I first arrived in Rome some 14 years ago? I'm home.

I so enjoyed that period of my life. I was so young and free- my only restrictions were those that I created and lack of money (which can be gotten around if one is creative). But even lacking money, I was able to venture out into the Roman night and sit on the Spanish steps or visit Piazza Navona to take in all that was Rome. Do you remember the Christmas festival? Bombastik? The wine festival? Navona Notte? The weekend trips near and far?

I could leisurely read books, converse and discover without much care of the passing of time. I could love life as one does as an foreigner. I felt at the time that the life I was leading would never come to an end. It could always live on. I would always carry it with me. And I do.

The friends I had during that time still dance in my memory- as does the food, the love, the passionate arguments, and self discovery. Even though many of these same people cross my path now and again, the "they" they were remains locked in Roman time forever.