Everyday I spend in Suchitoto I find myself very grateful for the guidance of my friend and former boss. She encouraged me to do this more than anyone I know and was effective in addressing my worries, but ultimately pushing me to grow in ways that I wouldn’t if I had chosen to stay in L.A.
One of her last parting bits of wisdom was to read Ernest Hemingway’s, A Moveable Feast while on my trip. This collection of writings and musings from the iconic American writer are taken from his time living and working in Paris in the 1920s. It was in this time that Hemingway committed himself to his work at unprecedented levels and found fruitful artistic experiences while living as an expatriate.
Today, I finished A Moveable Feast and have assembled my favorite quotes and passages from his memoirs.
- If you are lucky enough to have live in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
- …a memory or even a state of being that had become a part of you, a thing that you could have always with you, no matter where you went or how you lived forever after, that you could never lose. An experience first fixed in time and space or a condition like happiness or love could be afterward moved or carried with you wherever you went in space and time.
- I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Don’t worry. You have written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
- I did not want argue bout this nor try to explain again what I was trying to do about conversation. That was my own business and it was much more interesting to listen.
- I did not want to argue about that, although I thought that I had lived in a world such as it was and there were all kinds of people in it and I tried to understand them; but some of them I could not like and some I still hated.
- Work could cure almost anything, I believed then, and I believe it now.
- People were always the limiters to happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.
- It was all part of the fight against poverty that you never win except by not spending.
- We should live in this time now and have very minute of it.
- Memory is hunger.
- By then I knew that everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. But if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. If it was good you could only fill it by finding something better.
- I thought that all generations were lost by something and always had been and always would be.
- When you are twenty-five and are a natural heavyweight, missing a meal completely makes you very hungry.
- “You like me, don’t you, Monsieur?” she asked me.
“Very much.” “But you’re too big,” she said sadly.
“Everyone is the same size in bed.”
- They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure.
- If a man liked his friends’ painting or writing, I thought it was probably like those people who like their families and it was not polite to criticize them.
- He was also irascible but so, I believe, have been many saints.
- Walking home I tired to think what he reminded me of and there were various things. They were all medical except toe-jam and that was a slang word. I tried to break his face down and describe it but I could only get the eyes. Under the black hatt, when I had first seen them, the eyes had been those of an unsuccessful rapist.
- In the end everyone, or not quite everyone, made friends again in order not to be stuffy or righteous. I did too. But I could never make friends agains truly, neither in my heart nor in my head. When you cannot make friends any more in your head is the worst.
- “We need more true mystery in our lives, Hem,” he once said to me. “The completely unambitious writer and the really good unpublished poem are the things we lack most at this time. There is, of course, the problem of sustenance.”
- Hadley and I had become too confident in each other and careless in our confidence and pride. In the mechanics of how this was penetrated I have never tried to apportion the blame, except my own part, and that was clearer all my life. The bulldozing of three people’s hearts to destroy one happiness and build another and the love and the good work all that came out of it is not part this book. I wrote it and left it out. It is a complicated, valuable and instructive story. How it all ended, finally, has nothing to do with this either. Any blame that was mine to take and possess and understand. The only one, Hadley, who has no possible blame, ever, came well out of it finally and married a much finer man than I ever was or could hope to be and is happy and deserves it and that was one good and lasting thing that came of that year.
- I was getting tired of the literary life, if this was the literary life, if this was the literary life that I was leading, and already I missed not working and I felt the death of loneliness that comes at the end of every day that is wasted in your life.
- People who interfered in your life always did it for your own good and I figured it out finally that what they wanted was for you to conform completely and never differ from some accepted surface standard and then dissipate the way traveling sales would at a convention in every stupid and boreing way there was.
- The people who attract people by their happiness and their performance are usually inexperienced but they never learn quite rapidly how not to be overrun and they learn how to go away. But they have not learned about the good, the attractive, then charming, the soon-beloved, the generous, the understanding rich who have no bad qualities and who give each day the quality of a festival and who, when they have passed and taken the nourishment they needed, leave everything deader than the roots of any grass Attila’s horses’ hooves have ever scoured.
- All things truly wicked must start from an innocence.
- Nobody climbs on skis now and almost everybody breaks their legs but maybe it is easier in the end to break your legs than to break your heart although they say that everything breaks now and that sometimes, afterwards, many are stronger at the broken places.
- This book is fiction, but there is always a chance that such a work of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.