April 2022 Featured Article

Writer Needs: An Island, a Tower, and a Cat

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Um, bleed, Mr. Hemingway? Those are not words that inspire the creative spirit. Granted, we all aren’t penning Nobel Prize worthy fiction, but there must be something the aspiring writer or dedicated reader can take away from the life of this literary icon, aside from the need to give up a pint or two of our life’s blood!

When I think of Hemingway, it takes me to a tropical island which is deeply entwined with my own family’s experience. Instead of bleeding onto the page, let’s take a little jaunt over to Cuba, climb up a tower, and hang out with some cats, why don’t we? Here’s an inspiration from Hemingway’s tropical lifestyle for those of us who write…and those who don’t!

Find your  island. Lovingly known as ‘Papa’ to the Cuban people, Hemingway moved to the island in 1940 and stayed there for twenty years. My father and mother both shared the same island home. Dad’s father, born in Guantanamo, moved the family from Central Ermita to Matahambre to Santa Lucia as his work shifted from the sugar mills to the copper mine. Like Hemingway, my parents basked in the exceptional warmth of the Cuban people, the beauty of a Caribbean paradise. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect locale for a writer to pen that magnum opus?

But nothing is perfect is it? Suddenly there was Castro and the beautiful things were stripped away until all that was left for my father’s family was the contents of their suitcases as they fled the revolution, my mother’s side having escaped a bit earlier. Hemingway left his island home too, never to return, dying by his own hand in Idaho a year later.

So what if that idyllic writing locale is not to be? What if our lives deviate from that wonderful dream we created for ourselves? Then we must find a more mundane place for our stories, to start on another path that God provides. For my parents, it led them to the golden California sunshine. This noisy suburbia is home for me too, no sand, no surf, just traffic and leaf blowers, but the words get written just the same. No island, no shiny tropical mornings, but I see the same sun and I hear the chorus of the birds though we are hours from the nearest shore.. Life is a series of adjustments, after all.

What adjustments have you made along the way, friends? If you’d like to hear more about me and mine, I’d be happy to have you subscribe to my newsletter at danamentink.com. God bless!

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