The Nick Adams stories celebrate the natural world, the wild, untamed world of the forest and the vibrant life that is available to those who learn to live in it. This is the hum of life, with new growth coming in the springtime. It is the battle for life to exist, the drive to mate, the daily hunger, the changes of the seasons.
performance time - 2:13 minutes
“The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as Spring itself.” Hemingway
“You’re beautiful, like a May fly.” - Hemingway
This is a story of a middle-aged American Colonel, wounded in war, who falls in love with a young Italian countess. It is a love so overpowering and spontaneous that it revitalizes his spirit and encourages him to dream of the future.
performance time - 1:32 minutes
“Love enlarges the scope of the mind, enhances the mental faculties, clarifies emotion and gives poise to enthusiasm.”
A sigh is the act of breathing – life-sustaining air. A sigh is also an expression of attitude, of acceptance of your place in life. A sigh can also imply unresolved restlessness, an awareness of things left undone, and anxiety about the events coming in the future. Some sighs are secret, done inside the mind.
One of Hemingway’s most lasting short stories is “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.” It is about order, a sequence of events. This is not a random life, it has an orderly pace, a known outcome, a table of contents, a reasonable expectation. Fill in the blanks. performance time - 2:15 minutes
“Courage is grace under pressure.” - Hemingway
This music is a prelude to the pomp and ceremony of the Fiesta and a tribute to the “Heroic code” that many of Hemingway’s characters embodied.
Hemingway’s heros did not talk about what they believed in. They were men of action, not theory. They avoided death at all costs, because Hemingway believed the universe is indifferent. They wanted enjoyment now, immediately, not in some after-life. They feared death, but were not afraid to die. They lived most intensly when tested by death. They had great self-discipline and were highly skilled in some way. They were loyal to their friends, but not to a cause or concept. They hated mediorce people. performance time - 2:49 minutes
“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” - Hemingway
The original title for “A Sun Also Rises” was “Fiesta,” a story about a group of expatriate Americans in Europe in the 1920’s who experience Pamploma’s famous “running of the bulls” at the annual Spanish fiesta, and the blood sport of bullfighting. The lead female character, Brett Ashley, was hip, a pleasure-seeker even in the midst of despair, defining herself in her acceptance of the moment. Hemingway’s characters were the first beatniks, predecessors of the hippys of the 1960’s. performance time - 1:28 minutes
“Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honor.” - Hemingway
Hemingway’s life is all about creative hunger, the need to accumulate finished projects, a craving to bring satisfaction on himself, using high standards of success. He had a churning energy inside his mind to express his feelings, to write it down, to realize in the real world the moment of inspiration in the form of art.
Hemingway was driven to write daily and was disciplined and professional about it. He recognized his own talent and was not about to squander his time. He was good at what he did, and that was part of the reason he worked so hard.
“To Have and Have Not” was written during his Key West years. The novel depicts Harry Morgan as an essentially good man who is forced into blackmarket activity by economic forces beyond his control. Then he is forced to kill a man.
performance time - 1:44 minutes
“That terrible mood of depression of whether it’s any good or not is known as “‘The Artist’s Reward.’”
It is a new day of adventure on the ocean - the calm roll of the waves, the sun reflecting off the water, the sudden squalls, the many moods of life at sea. The old man is at peace with the sea.
Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for “The Old Man and the Sea.”
performance time - 1:10 minutes
“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that feed it.” - Hemingway.
Hemingway is sitting on a barstool at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, (now Captain Tony’s Saloon) slowly getting drunk on rum, a number two yellow pencil in his hand, writing furiously as he watches the people in the bar and drinks. His leading men were never sloppy drunk; they could hold their liquor.
Islands in the Stream’s main character Thomas Hudson is cynical and introverted. He spends his days on the island of Cuba drinking heavily and doing naval reconnaissance for the US Army.
performance time - :44 minutes
“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” - Hemingway
This music is about the existential hopelessness of the story’s hero, Robert Jordan, who knows he will probably die during his mission to blow up a bridge during the Spanish Civil War of 1937. Most of Hemingway’s characters prefer death to capture and are prepared to kill themselves or be killed to avoid it.
Robert Jordan’s young lover, Maria, brought him intense happiness even in the midst of war and fear and death.
performance time - 1:06 minutes
“All thinking men are atheists.” - Hemingway
The great rumbling passionate relationship of Hemingway’s novels is undoubtedly that of Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley in “A Farewell to Arms.” Love in the time of war. Chaos all around them, they both recognized in each other that special spark in the eyes, and without hesitation they both responded, as though they wouldn’t get a second chance at it. They were also smart enough to know love when they saw it, and they never looked back.
performance time - 2:57 minutes
“To understand another is one of life’s richest blessings, and to be understood by another is perhaps love’s sweetest and most satisfying gift.” - Hemingway
The magic of mystery, the unfolding tale of sorrow or elation or love, the drama behind each decision made by the people in Hemingway’s stories - he made you want to know what would happen next, and why. And he surprised you with the outcome.
Although Hemingway never attended college, he was a master of the inquisitive mind. He had one himself and came to understand how it worked, what it needed to produce the best work, how to feed it with new travel experiences, interesting creative friends, other artists and people of character who challenged him and made him laugh.
Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.
In ”The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” Hemingway examines the dynamics of a married couple’s relationship. Exhilarated by the big game hunt, Macomber feels transformed and no longer afraid. "You know I don’t think I’d ever be afraid of anything again," he says. After that, Margot, the wife, looses her edge and becomes no longer in charge in the relationship.
performance time - 1:49 minutes
“When I have an idea, I turn down the flame, as if it were a little alcohol stove, as low as it will go. Then it explodes and that is my idea.” - Hemingway
Hemingway is known for the rhythm of his words - his famously short sentences, the implied spaces between words, his flow of descriptions that capture the reader and don’t let go until the description is over. His rhythms often convey as much meaning as the words themselves.
Hemingway was a product of his times – the 1920’s and 30’s, when American jazz was being born. He was also a student of his adoptive cultures in Spain, France and Cuba, where even sentimental love songs have rhythm.
“The Garden of Eden” depicts the lonely, fluctuating modern hero in David, and his inevitable entrance into an understanding of betrayal and destruction.
performance time - 2:30 minutes
“Never go on trips with anyone you don’t love.” - Hemingway
This book is a memoir of Hemingway’s years in Paris from 1921 to 1926. The music reflects the movement between the restaurants, the cafes, the brasseries, the patisseries of Paris, to the great enjoyment of Hemingway and his friends.
performance time - 5:32 minutes
“If you are lucky enough to have lived 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.” - Hemingway
Action. Tension. In the present. Self-envolvement so intense, it brings change, catharsis, resolve.
In “The Torrents of Spring,” Hemingway’s two main characters are searching for the perfect woman. O'Neill takes mescaline and hallucinates that he is President of Mexico. Johnson is cured of his impotence when, viewing a naked squaw, he is overcome by "a new feeling" which he immediately attributes to Mother Nature, and together he and the squaw "light out for the territories."
performance time - 1:43 minutes
“The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.” - Hemingway
Suicide starts with a conscious decision. The higher ideal is sometimes dignity, sometimes escape from pain. There are countless reasons, explanations, justifications. Hemingway saw it coming.
During his life, his favorite quote was “il faut d’abord durer” (first, one must last.)
“The Snows of Kilimanjaro” main character Harry develops an infected wound from a thorn puncture, and lies awaiting his slow death. He realizes that although he has seen and experienced many wonderful and astonishing things during his life, he had never made a record of the events; his status as a writer is contradicted by his reluctance to actually write. This, for Hemingway, is real tragedy.
performance time - 1:50 minutes
“There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other, there can be no happy end to it.” - Hemingway
“Best of all he loved the fall
the leaves yellow in the cottonwoods
leaves floating on the trout streams
and above the hills
the high blue windless skies
now he will be part of them forever”
(In memory of his friend Gene Van Guilder)
My home town of Key West is a lot like every other American town of 30,000 population. The differences begin with the palm trees, the unusual abundance of flowers, and the tropical weather. But the biggest difference is the boundry line that forms a circle around the outskirts of our city. Most Americans can hop in their cars and drive into the country, but the ocean surrounds Key West, and the town takes up all the land area. Only a thin string of sandbars and mangrove islands connect it to the mainland 160 miles away.
Before Henry Flagler extended his Florida East Coast Railroad to Key West in 1912, the only way to get to the island was by boat. So the history of Key West is the history of people who had a strong connection to the ocean. Books on Key West's history talk about the wreckers, the spongers, the pirates, the Navy, the shrimpers and the boatbuilders. Many of the first residents were ship's carpenters who built their homes with highly elevated vantage points call "widow's walks" which gave them an unobstructed view of the ocean. In their travels they brought back exotic tropical plant life from all parts of the world - flowering trees, orchids, coconut palms, mahogany, Queen's umbrella trees, and flowers that bloomed all year long like Hibiscus and Bougainvilla.
Key West is located beside a natural coral reef that breaks the ocean's waves six miles out, giving Key Westers calm beaches and crystal-clear water at the shoreline.