I know what I DON’T what to be

American Author Ernest Hemingway aboard his Ya...

Papa Hemingway on his yacht

Yesterday was Day One of the NaNoWriMo contest and I also finished reading my latest book selection, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.  There is a thread that holds these two disparate items together, other than their appearance on my blog (and their obvious relation to writing and literature.)  After reading Hemingway and beginning my own writing exercise, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I do NOT want to write like Hemingway.  I understand that his choppy, terse prose was revolutionary at the time and it earned him a Nobel Prize for literature and a Pulitzer Prize.  I should be so lucky, talented and groundbreaking, I know.  But it is not very appealing to me.  His work is not without interesting descriptions and word choice . . . one that has stuck with me was the main character’s sighting of a “candelabraed pear tree.”  Nice visual.  But the dialogue is weird and unnatural.  I imagine it serves its purpose, but I still found it difficult to enjoy.

The thing that I appreciate most is that this particular book is obviously based on his life, and really, the story is the thing that I enjoyed most.  Hemingway, too, served as an ambulance driver in Italy during WWI, although he worked for the Red Cross and not the Italian army.  He was also seriously injured during his service, like his main character.  Also similarly, they both drink . . . a lot.  The novel that I am attempting to write during NaNoWriMo is also based on my life, but it is definitely not a memoir, so it is interesting and empowering to see how another author has successfully handled a similar situation.  I am also curious to see how it was treated on-screen and plan on watching the movie version tonight if I have time.

They say write what you know.  What does anybody know better than themselves?