Hello, my dear readers out there, whoever you may be!
I’m going to deviate from the normal flow of the blog to address an issue that inspired me while writing an e-book for one of my clients.
In the process of writing the book, I came to three critical realizations:
- Writers need not apologize for their tone or subject matter; each writer has a unique voice and should be allowed to address the world in said tone.
- Speaking plain English (or whatever language in which your work is written) is more accessible and often more powerful than flowery prose.
- Ernest Hemmingway is a better writer than I once believed.
The realizations came to me in more or less that order. I remember reading A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea several years ago. I enjoyed the stories themselves, but at the time, I couldn’t for the life of me understand what was so great about the way Ernest Hemmingway wrote. The language didn’t appear to be anything special. He was a blunt, raw curmudgeon of an author whose macho posturing and at-times abrasive attitude rubbed me the wrong way.
It was only recently I came to realize that it was exactly the way Ernest Hemmingway was that made him such an enduring, classic writer. His words were visceral, real, something with which most every reader could relate. In writing in plain speech, he essentially grabbed the readers by the lapels of their figurative jacket, forced them to read the words he’d written and said “Look, here’s what happened, here’s the way I’m telling it. I’m not sorry. Deal with it.”
Sure, sometimes he was offensive, sometimes he was brash (which upon further research doesn’t appear to be much fault of his own due to some serious mental issues), but his lean, unsubtle, unapologetic way of speaking had a major influence on writers after his last words were written, and the influence continues today.
With that said, Mr. Hemmingway, I’m sorry I scoffed at your work. I was young, I wasn’t as in-tune to what your style really meant to the literary world until now. While you’re not my favourite author, I can see now why you were held in such high regard, and rightly so.
What do you think of Ernest Hemmingway’s work? Discuss in the comments below!
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