Hemingway Days – The Positive
As most of you who follow regularly are aware, I recently visited Key West, Florida for the Hemingway Days celebration. I present here some of the highlights of my trip. The negative side is presented on my other blog, JJ Botta – Freelance Writer.
We always have a blast whenever we visit the Keys, especially Key West, because it is not a place. It is a state of mind. Being a huge Hemingway fan, I always try to visit during the Hemingway celebration, and I learn something new each time.
I love the era of the 1920s. I love studying the lost generation. I enjoy the music, the art, and the literature. Indeed, the expatriates of that time were disillusioned with their government, much like many of us are today. They visited Paris, Madrid, Florence, and other European cities to learn more about life. Hemingway led the pack.
There were a couple of events we attended this year. Meet the Papas was particularly interesting. About 30 or so gentlemen who purported to be Hemingway lookalikes spent all week vying for the title as the closest looking to Ernest. I still do not know who won, and it doesn’t really matter. They were all caught up in the spirit of the bygone era.
The Key West Art & Historical Society Museum is always a favorite. The curators change the exhibits continually, and this year I got to see some new photos, writings, and other memorabilia dealing with Hemingway. Photos were permitted, so I took as many as I could for my collection.
Of course, we once again visited the Hemingway House and Museum on Olivia Street. The home is the site of origination for some of Papa’s greatest writings, and I was able to take new photos of typewriters, briefcases, pens, books, and artifacts that made me feel a connection with the times.
Of the several book signings I attended, only one dealt directly with Hemingway himself. Author Lorian Hemingway, granddaughter of the Nobel Laureate, did a reading for the audience, which always makes people feel in sync with the living EH. I had met her on two occasions in the past at similar readings. It is thrilling.
Finally, my wife and I visited several art galleries and museums, where we captured in photos (where possible) not only the spirit of the early twentieth century, but also some of the visions of pre-Castro Cuba that forced us to reflect upon the brilliance of that old culture, which we hope to someday be able to experience first hand.
All-in-all, it was a fabulous trip, and a great cultural experience, replete with food, drink, and festivities that made us promise to each other we would return to Key West soon.