Hemingway's Office, Key West

Free Write, 2/11/2023: Thoughts on a Novel

A free write by Tyler Golec

“The man next to Bill was talking to him in Spanish and Bill was not getting it, so he offered the man one of the bottles of wine.” – The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway

This line hits differently at 31, having spent most of my 20s living abroad or in different cities in the US. When I first read this line. I must have been eighteen. This novel, there was so much I couldn’t connect to. It meant nothing to me. Drinking every night in Paris, fishing trips to Spain, it was romantic, wasn’t it? 

Now, I am 31 and I have been Jake, in love with what he can never have. I’ve kissed the 34-year-old beauty who is looking for anything. I have been drunk in bizarre places, not getting the language, and solving the problem with a bottle of wine. Or, was it rum? Perhaps a long island iced tea served at hooka lounge somewhere in Taipei.

Reading it now… I have always loved Hemingway. I was briefly going to for my Master’s and in one class my professor asked us to rewrite a chapter of A Lost Lady by Willa Cather in Hemingway’s style. Or, maybe, I choose that myself. That was fun.

I was too focused on Jake and Brett the first time I read it. A romantic at heart, I was frustrated with two characters in love, not being in love. I guess, I missed Jake’s darkness. I needed to be torn down myself a few times, to be emasculated, to understand.

I’ve known Robert, I’ve been friends with Bill, I’ve been confided in by Frances, I’ve known plenty of Mikes, and I’ve been in love with Brett. I guess I needed to live a bit first to get it. But now, I have also seen the sunrise.

Beimen, Tacheng Street, 다퉁 구 Taipei, 대만
Photo by Jisun Han on Unsplash





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