Monday, April 9, 2007

Last week I headed for Miami to talk to the Honors students at Miami Dade College about A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway's 1929 World War I novel. This talk was given under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities' One Community One Book program. The college was abuzz with activities. So much going on ... a three day writing workshop, a month of panels, discussions, lectures, dramatisations of A Farewell to Arms, a book that was published seventy eight years ago, and is as fresh today as then in it observations on the futiltiy and incoherence of war. It is also a story of love and loss exquisitely written. My audience ranged from greatly enthusiastic to politely bored as might be expected from a required attendance on a beautiful spring afternoon. There was a lively discussion afterwards, many of the questions preprepared but nonetheless thoughtfully inquisitive, often reflecting the preoccupations of the moment. I regaled the audience with some of my own experiences working as Hemingway's secretary in Spain, France and Cuba when I was their age, and this seemed to make a deep impression. I returned from sunny Florida to snowy Montana, one foot deeper than at my departure, just in time to bring our skiing season to a powdery close after one of the most disappointing ski seasons in memory.

Off to Palm Beach next week to talk about my memoir RUNNING WITH THE BULLS: My Years with the Hemingways. Will let you know how it goes.