My latest naval-gazing on Medium.com...
At the Musee Carnavalet I went searching for history of the French Revolution. I have found it surprisingly hard to find history of this momentous event in fair Paris. I was slightly disappointed because the rooms featuring the French Revolution, and belle époque that came years later, were closed for maintenance until mid-August. But the museum of the history of Paris was still interesting, with paintings of Paris past. I marveled at a painting of the bridges of the Seine because centuries later I recognized the vantage point of the artists long gone.
And the museum was free. And the manicured gardens were lovely. A nice place to read Hemingway.
Reading Hemingway’s notes on Paris, I realized I hustle better than Ernie. He skipped meals and was always hungry; I simply eat simply in my studio. He spent his little argent at the bars and cafes; I sip cheap cognac out of a flask given to me by my siblings for my thirty-third birthday, or hit the grocery store to buy a cold, cheap can of Dutch beer to drink in the shade of the banks of the Seine. He waxed and waned his pittance on the horses; I eschew gambling.
Granted, I am thirty-three, and with a different level of experience than the twenty-five year old Ernie penning “A Moveable Feast.” A fair comparison, it is not. And I never thought I would write that about Hemingway. But I did.
As I read his story, “A Man Marked for Death,” I thought of a thought that passed through my head while in the museum. A notion from The White Tiger, a book that a belle Swede named Lina Fina once introduced to me when living out Hemingway days in Panama:
They remain slaves who do not know what is beautiful in this world
What is beautiful in this world? The belle paintings of forgotten ages? The blue and yellow flowers that dot the finely manicured lawn of a courtyard littered with bronze statues?
Or is it living life to its absolute fullest. Understanding that it takes a supreme effort to truly love life.
Life loves those who love life.
Oui, but to live and love life we must fight for it.
“You mean I am not marked for death,” I [Hemingway] asked. I could not help it
“No, you are marked for Life.” He capitalized the word.
I sipped my warm cognac out of the cool metal flask in the lush manicured gardens. The bronze winged angel stood high above, with laurel in each hand, looking out across the courtyard.
Give me time, Hemingway replied. As a taker of time, I smiled and agreed.