My dad scoffs when I mention Hemingway.
“I read some of his stories. Yeah, I liked them. But he was, well, I don’t agree with his politics. He fought with the communists in Spain.”
“I think he was ambulance driver,” I reply.
“Well its the same thing.”
I’m sure plenty of times the writer’s work is held up against their life and some kind of qualitative judgement is arrived at by combining the two. Well our lives certainly inform our writing, if that’s the idea.
But my dads a bit of a curmudgeon. He swats away any argument that circles around him simply, it seems, just because it is there.
I don’t know that I care what Hemingway did in his life. I never cared how many lions he shot.
But I wonder if maybe that should matter?
Still, I just can’t get my head around it.
And anyway, driving an ambulance is not the same as firing a weapon. A writer’s life doesn’t say anything about his or her work. There’s just no way around it.
I’m sure Hemingway would agree.