Papa Hemingway, Me, and The Old Man and the Sea

The past week I have been catching up with my old friend Ernest “Papa” Hemingway through reading his classic “The Old Man and the Sea”. Written in 1951 and first published in 1952, it is his final major work released during Hemingway’s lifetime. In this short novel, Papa Hemingway tells the story of an aging Cuban fisherman named Santiago who, down on his luck, finds himself entangled in an unyielding, excruciating battle with a massive marlin in the Gulf Stream, a current stretching from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up the East Coast and beyond. The elderly fisherman demonstrates a great deal of tenacity to supplement the knowledge and skills he has acquired over the course of his lifetime on the Sea.

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I first read Hemingway ages ago as a youth enthralled by the places and events relayed through his economical, understated prose. It was easy to lose myself in the pages of  “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Sun Also Rises”, and stories like “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”. Along with Steinbeck and Twain,  Ernest Hemingway stoked my desires to pursue becoming a writer. It continues to be a dream that I chase and to date has yielded a stack of folders and notebooks filled with stories, plays, and unresolved ambition. Naturally, there have been detours along the way. But like all of us, I press on. 

All anyone is required to do to become a writer is write. But rest assured, writing is hard work. Putting a few words on paper is the simple part. Weaving a story that keeps readers tuned in and turning pages demands skill and a good combination of head and heart knowledge. Being a writer calls for unwavering persistence and the willingness to type on through the hills and valleys life brings our way. 

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The story of “The Old Man and the Sea” is one of courage and dogged determination as well as a tale about an elderly man coming to terms with his life drawing to an end. Perhaps that is the story’s appeal. Our lives call us to muster courage and remain persistent, all the while marching toward our date with death. For me, I think I always appreciated Hemingway writing about matters of the soul. Much of Papa’s writing is rife with spiritual overtones. “The Old Man and the Sea” is no exception. Santiago—“the Old Man”—is a character fighting an epic battle with a  beast of Biblical proportions. He will either overcome it or it will overtake him. Who wins in the end? You’ll have to read the book yourself to find out. 

As Scripture teaches us, in our difficulties we come to realize our sufferings produce perseverance and that perseverance builds character, and character yields hope (Romans 5:3-4, NIV).

To God be the Glory~”TDG”

P.S. Praying for all our family, friends and the folks down South living along the Texas Coast as you weather the onslaught of Harvey. May the Lord keep you and bless you one and all.

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Romans 5:3-4 (NIV):

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

 

Photo(s):

Original photos by Rainer Bantau Photography ©2017 

Other Photos courtesy of Pixabay 

All Photos edited with Pixlr.

Writing is Cathartic

Releasing words on paper is liberating. Writing is cathartic. Something is purifying and intense about letting the screams inside your heart escape your head. Relief washes over you with each letter pounded out from the plastic keys of your laptop. You are not creating as much as you are freeing you that has been created.

Sentences bleed from your fingertips like fire breathing dragons finding their prey. Your hands fly across the keyboard, jotting down thoughts swirling in your mind. You try to stop, but cannot. Your survival instincts kick in. You do what you need today.

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Life halts for no one. One existence begins as others end. The clock keeps on ticking. The moment you have is brief. It’s your dime. Be intentional how you spend it.

Guarded and isolated is no way to live. Open up. Let people in. It is hard, but the payoff is grand. Keep on fighting the good fight brother. Put one foot in front of the other. It will be time well spent.

There is life beyond the here and now, even if you cannot see it from where you are standing in this moment. Walk out of the darkness and find the light. Keep moving. It works if you work it. Keep fighting. Don’t let life beat you down.

Recognizing there is a problem is the beginning of a new adventure. Give it all you got until you got nothing left to give. Life is a journey, not your final destination. Don’t lug extra baggage. Let be what you need to let go.

Lay your burdens down my brother. Carry on my wayward friend. God’s got this sister. Seek, and you shall find it. Writing is cathartic. Release and let the words flow.