I just finished A Farewell to Arms and For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. Both vintage classic Hemingway to be sure, but the leap forward he makes in character forming from the first, published in 1929 to the next, published in 1940, is remarkable. The people in Arms are real enough but walk his pages tending toward two dimensional cut-outs against the larger background of World War I (really the main character of the story). The people in Tolls are superbly authentic, emotional, living, breathing, identifiable human beings living more in the four days of war that the story spans than ten people live in ten lifetimes. Turning the last page the book had the effect on me that tells me every time, never lies to me, that this is a simply great work (perhaps one of the all time best), and that is that I did not want it to end. Call it the "expertness of art."
And Robert Jordan's backstory as it concerns Hemingway's own life, and the way it ended (or rather how he ended it) is a haunting and startling prescience. So I started thinking, what could account for the big leap forward, the attaining of such a higher height of writing/story-telling mastery that separates the two novels... and setting aside the fact that Hemingway was a monstrously disciplined writer, it seems to me that it is simply this -- he lived a life.
In the today world of the same-ing (as it were) of the sexes, Hemingway gets a lot of revisionist guff that is undeserved and frankly, idiotic. If there is another writer that has ever written dialogue as "alive with rhythms and idioms... I do not know where to find (him)." Conrad Aiken's assessment not my own, but he's right on the money.
I also recently finished a whole array of historical reading on Joseph of Arimathea and what happened to the original Apostles and the Disciples of Christ. Sometime this year hopefully I will be re-writing a screenplay about GLASTONBURY based on all of this and I need to know it upside down and backward. And all of it is fascinating.
I'm working on the Blog site everyday and readying "Robert Radio Flyer, The King of Pacoima," the first of my books I am going to offer here for download to Kindle etc. and as a paperback through Amazon.Com. I'll upload a non-illustrated version first with a illustrated version to follow soon thereafter (check my first post for more on that).
Thanks for reading and check back soon...