Friday, April 10, 2015

Sketches From A Barman's Album

There is the humanitarian quality in it.

Nick Adams, Ernest Hemingway's true self, his alter-ego, his stand-in, is up in Michigan, his realities crystalized into the moments of short story.  "The End of Something" leaves with Nick lying down on his stomach on the shore of the lake he's just been night-trawling with his gal, his brow or cheek resting on the hands and wrists of crossed folded arms, a make-shift pillow.  He's just broken up with her, out of some irritation (off camera), and now, the act done, irrevocably, he reconsiders it.  This is no fun, no fun at all, we can read him.  He wants to be left alone.

And the story mirrors the strange ending of the first story of the In Our Time cycle, the suicide of the Native American husband as Nick's father delivers 'the squaw's' baby through a C-section.  (She bites the doctor.)  The aftermath leaves Nick, as a boy still, trailing his hand in the water as he canoes back across the lake with his father, who is explaining a bit about the world.  The boy's (innocent) reaction is that he is quite sure he will never die.  Quite sure.

Life is no fun sometimes, maybe quite often, and writing is one way of assuaging.

What a small town boy I've become.  I went back home, landscaped, summers, even after graduation, didn't do much except go the college library and read, dinner with the old man, then walking down to Don's Rok for a beer.  The time for adventure, for new experiences, new places, cities, and I retreated.  Finally joining the flow reluctantly, a carpet bagger.

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