Saturday, September 24, 2005

The 1st Annual Ernest Hemingway Festival

Great time in Sun Valley if you like literary scholars talking about the local legend EH. Good insights by those who knew him best: the friends he ran with, like rancher Bud Purdy of Picabo, Idaho where I worked next to Silver Creek and lived in the fall of 1987 at the Hayspur fish hatchery. I also interviewed William L. Smallwood who wrote the local book The Idaho Hemingway for his own small press. He makes several previously unnoticed observations including Hemingway's "speech impediment, (that improves somewhat with alcohol) and his chronic shyness" in the two Hemingways thesis.

"The 'Pamploma Hemingway' was a drunken boaster and braggart," Smallwood said, "who had people punch him in the gut to test his manhood." This, he claimed, was Hemingway on scotch and only a small part of the character most saw in Idaho. They got a friendly, caring teacher and close friend. Hard to beat that.

I poked around and a good number of quotes support heavy drinking all over town right to the end. Still, what a great character he was and what a talent. He was also the 'Papa' of 'show don't tell' in his writing. That's why it has endured.

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