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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2019
Jason W. Gersch
themisanthrope@hacknyc.com
Memoirs of the Misanthrope
Volume One, Entry Three:
September 16, 2008
Hemingway, Why?

Hemingway. Why’d you do it? Not the suicide. We all go, he chose his time, good job and bless him for it. Control was taken from the hands of the god he dismissed and that was that. No hard feelings.

No, not the suicide. The sentence. That lifelong quest for not too many, not too few. Just right, like baby-bear. Poppa Bear regressing to infancy. The bastard knew what he was doing. Driving an ambulance for a week, a book. Going fishing down in Cuba, another. Trips to murder animals on the side of a mountain or down in the jungle, two more. Again, bless him. Not what; how-- it’s the how that makes me hate him. You ask for short fiction, but no one can compare to Ernie’s, “For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.” End game.

He robbed us. His baby-bear quest. Restriction through his own selfish obsession. Oh, he made his mark. His then multiplied exponentially. Slashes of ink-- sword strokes and the resultant splash of red through innocent words in countless workshop sessions and manuscript reviews.

Why, Ernie, why? Did you hate yourself that much that you hated us, condemning us to your pursuit? You dined and danced and drank with the American stars down in Havana, and what do we get in return for our support? You doomed us to succinctness. Oh, I know, being succinct, for a writer at least is as much a prerequisite as hooves to a horse. But so what? Why not write sentences that go on and on, running like a river, slicing land, scarring the earth, forging rather than foraging through forests, taking the trees down with it, punching through mountains, using its destruction to spawn the new canyons and valleys and waterside picnic spots and watering holes for the little cutesy cutesy woodland creatures Ernie just would have loved so much to shoot. I’ll tell you why not, because now, after Ernest, they tell us that to do so is simply not right.

“No right!” is what I said in return as I tossed the ten-pager across the conference table in an outburst, revealing my own insecurities. And they say he and his are the Lost Generation. No we are, all those that followed. Thanks a lot.

Digression Ernie, see. Not too bad right? Wouldn’t kill you, if you weren’t already dead. But who am I to judge? I mean, if all you have is what you are presently reading it ain’t much to base an opinion on and to be truthful I am regretting ever starting this nonsense. If I were you, I would be getting very angry at this author for the time wasted on this nonsense. Another second… another.

Some will say that I have missed the point. That Ernest Hemingway’s contribution to literature (pronunciation exaggerated), excuse me, li-te-ra-ture is the most noteworthy, significant, momentous etc, etc, etc. But think, why say that? Brainwashing. That’s what I think. Positive and negative reinforcement from all the writerprofessorphd aristocrats in their so-self-important writing classes nationwide, the ones in which you have to buy a copy of the professor’s book in order to participate.

I don’t like to think that I have imaginary boundaries, limits, beyond the already ever-imposing canon that haunts bookshelves and library corridors. It’s the same as detesting the cogs of society and the dredges that rise each morning to earn bragging rights. The same as abhorring the hip and sheik with their Italian greyhounds, oversized sunglasses, and sense of entitlement. Basically, thanks to Hemingway, the world no longer gleams with hope as it did in adolescence, that wondrous period of life when one only needed to say one was something in order to be it. And thanks to Poppa-Bear, the joy has been drained and people have contorted into cannibalistic creatures seeking the next opportunity to become opportunistic. And it’s all Ernie’s fault.


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