“It is not what France gave you but what it did not take from you that was important.” -Gertrude Stein
“There is no one thing that’s true. It’s all true.” -Ernest Hemingway
I’ve been away again.
My shoes are covered with silvery dust.
My head filled with wailing jazz music.
I brush aside a curtain of cigarette smoke.
The cafe is awash with artists and alcohol.
It is the l920’s and I am in Paris.
Reluctantly I turn the last page in my book.
I finish the final chapter in Paula McLain’s book The Paris Wife. A book so intensely personal I feel like a voyeur.
After a whirlwind courtship and wedding Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway set sail for Paris. This is the Paris of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
It’s fiction so intimate one feels that you must cast your eyes aside. We shouldn’t continue reading. We are intruding on private lives of real people. It is sad to read that Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley. She was his first wife. His Paris Wife.
Why am I not surprised that this week my thoughts have been in Paris.
There’s six degrees of separation in this story of Hemingway. Ten years ago when our son was married a good friend photographed the wedding. His name was Patrick Hemingway. He is Ernest Hemingway’s grandson. (www.patrickhemingway.com)