I carried A Moveable Feast with me on the long flight to Philly this weekend. To be quite honest, I carried it more out of a sense of duty, that I should get it read for another project that has been brewing rather than any sense of passionate desire to read it. Not even the fact that I loved the first two chapters gave me any more enthusiasm. My rule for planes is no reading as work, only for pleasure, but I didn’t find anything I wanted to read just for pleasure, either, so A Moveable Feast it was.
Now, for the record, I have never been a Hemingway hater as a good many women writers seem to be. As a very young writer, in fact, I found him inspiring–his adventurous life, his drive to write good work, his vividness. Then I found women writers who inspired me more and moved on.
So I carried the book on the plane and I had nothing else to read. I took it out with a sense of being virtuous and smart, and started to read. And–tumbled into it as everyone who recommended it knew I would. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful work! The spare prose, the dry wit, the droll asides, the tenderness with which he views a world that is fleeting, transient, precious. There is, in the wise man writing the story of his young self learning to write, a kindness in his regrets that pierced me: "We both touched wood on the cafe table and the waiter came to see what it was we wanted. But what we wanted not he, nor anyone else, nor knocking on wood or marble, as this cafe table-top was, could ever bring us. But we did not know it that night and we were very happy."
More on this in upcoming blogs. For today, that richness is enough.