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Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips For Writing – after some thoughts about his life

By idaflo | May 25th, 2010 | No Comments » 

Ernest Hemingway in turtleneck, black and white photo taken by   Karsh

This is not the first time I have seen this list.  I just didn’t remember it came from Hemingway. His insights about chopping out extra words were seared into my mind by a teacher in High School. Having said that, and though the attached article avoids any mention of such things, I can’t post something about Ernest Hemingway without bringing up the topic of death and suffering. It was all over his writingsAnd because I am Lutheran and we love to focus on the “what does this mean” meme, it seems to me that part of the reason for his fiercely budgeted wording, was his sense that he had…no time to waste time.

Have not read Hemingway a lot, just enough to savor his “story”.

I have a picture somewhere, taken in 1983, of me sitting on the ground near the huge stone slab that covers his grave in Ketchum, Idaho.  I taught in a one-room Christian school there that year, right below Mt. Baldy the “ski hill” for Sun Valley.

Speaking of pictures, Sun Valley Resort owns several pictures of Hemingway, that line the halls of the Lodge.  Though Ernest is pictured  in the company of  other famous notables from Hollywood and Business while they vacationed in Sun Valley,  he NEVER skied the hill.  In 1939, the year of his first visit, the resort had not yet been finished, and by the time he moved there with his wife Mary in 1960, he was neither mentally inclined nor physically able to ski.

“He had always like the cool summers and the abundance of wild land for hunting and fishing in Idaho. And, due to his friendship with Averill Harrimen who had just developed Sun Valley resort and wanted a celebrity like Hemingway to promote it”, he helped just by being photographed.  He had long suffered from severe depression and eventually submitted to repeated shock treatments to treat it.  Those treatments caused him to lose his memory, the tool that had served him so well in his writing.  Upon losing that, he sank into the abyss of total despair. Early in the morning of July 2, 1961, in the front hallway of  his house  overlooking The Big Wood River,  “he died as a result of a self-inflicted shotgun blast to the head.

His children and their children still live in the area.  In fact, in the same cemetery where he’s buried, Margeaux Hemingway, his granddaughter who had achieved her own  fame as a model and actress was also buried, after she committed suicide in 1996.

Like much of his writing, this is not a happy story, but one that should be told.  His life was cut from the same kind of rough cloth that filled his novels.

What would I say to Ernest Hemingway? I don’t know.  I do know the conversation would begin with me listening, a LOT.

No question, as a Christian, we are called to walk toward those who so suffer,   Believing that Christ is present and knows what we’re going through may not immediately serve to lift every cloud of sadness, but it can instill confidence and hope.

Christ loves the sufferer, not in spite of suffering, but in the midst of it. Those who suffer do not suffer alone. May God grant us the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the will to speak such truth to those we meet.

Below,a link to the mentioned article – from:


Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips
For Writing Well

by Brian Clark

Who better?

Many business people faced with the task of writing for marketing purposes are quick to say:

Hey, I’m no Hemingway!

But really, who better than Hemingway to emulate? Rather than embracing the flowery prose of the literati, he chose to eschew obfuscation at every turn and write simply and clearly.

So let’s see what Ernest can teach us about effective writing.

1. Use short sentences….(continue reading here)

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