Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Ernest Hemingway's Havana Home Restored

My article on revisiting Cuba and the restoration of the Hemingway home in Havana appears in the current issue of Smithsonian Magazine, August 2007. So far the responses have been positive.

I have just returned from a conference in Vienna, a beautiful city, lighthearted, filled with the music of Mozart and Strauss, palaces and museums, trolley cars and river boats cruising the Danube.

Memoir Writing Workshop
August 4th, 2007 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Meagher County Bookfest in White Sulphur Springs, Montana

Come join my five hour memoir writing workshop if you're in the area.

Butte Irish Festival
August 10th, 11th, 12th

I'll be giving a talk at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday August 11th, following artist, writer, publisher, Russell Chatham, at the lively Irish festival in Butte. If you have a touch of the Blarney, it is an occasion not to be missed.


Tom Smith - The Scooter Crusader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Smith - The Scooter Crusader said...

...I'm reposting this comment because I wanted to add to it...

I loved your article in the Smithsonian magazine. For so many people like me who have not yet seen what remains of Hemingway's Cuba, let alone been to Cuba, you have brought it vividly - the then and now - to life. You spoke of places that appear in a fan's imagination...visions of the sights and sensations around Havana, and the places mot familiar to Ernest, including the Floridita, Cojimar, and the "Pilar" (that's a great color photo of you with Ernest on his boat!).

And his beloved Finca Vigia... Your eloquence evoked feelings of virtually being there with you when you said, "My finca is not a museum but a home." You peopled your story with true images of life and home, such as Ernest's "ample figure" sitting in the chintz-covered chair, "as he sat holding a glass of scotch in one hand, his head slightly nodding to a George Gershwin tune...", and of mealtimes with "conversation and laughter and Ernest and Mary occasionally calling each other 'kitten' and 'lamb'." And thanks to you, Valerie, we can visualize the "large room at the south end of the house, where Ernest worked every morning, standing at a typewriter or writing in longhand, using a bookshelf as his desk."

I could go on, but will not spoil it for your readers. I can only encourage them: Go NOW and get a copy of the August 2007 Smithsonian - while it is still on the stands! I bought mine yesterday at a local bookstore (which also carries your splendid memoir, "Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways" - a definite re-read, with mine having the added joy of your inscription to me. (NOTE TO READERS: Order a copy directly from Valerie!)

Ernest was a true mentor to me during my two-year world journey by motorscooter Melawend, so reading of how things actually were in his life in personal accounts such as yours is wonderful, rising above the many scholarly second-hand portrayals. There is so much more to Ernest Hemingway than the work, the persona, and the myths - as your fine writings about him show clearly. Thank you for sharing, Valerie.

Looking forward to reading about your next adventure...

Tom Smith
"The Scooter Crusader"
Victoria, BC, Canada

sarah said...

I loved your article as well... having harbored a desire to visit Cuba, Havana in particular, for quite some time, your piece conveyed its mystery, allure, vitality and ambiance beautifully!
Your personal recollections lent a tangible edge to both the city and Finca Vigia as well as a truly visual glimpse of Ernest and his life there.

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