When I was a kid I wondered how it would feel to be revered as a literary genius...to win a Pulitzer, to have the respect of the writing community. In my mind, a great writer had to have great skills from the beginning. Could it be learned? Could it be obtained? I doubted myself and my abilities. In my head there was no way I would ever produce such fine writing skills, especially since English was a second language for me.

Until...

One day I read Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. Honestly, I didn't get it at all. I suppose most kids wouldn't but after a few days of thinking about the story, I was touched by the vulnerability of the piece. This was a sad tale about an apprentice and an aging Cuban fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream--and the story broke my heart. It wasn't until years later that I re-read the novella again that I fully understood the meaning...The story was like throwing fuel to the fire in my soul. I burned to write more than ever. Although I was a staff writer for the college newspaper and a freelancer to local music and entertainment magazines, I couldn't stop thinking about how I could ever reach that level I dreamed of. There was only one thing to do: I had to channel my inner Hemingway. I had a long road ahead and my devotion to reading and writing would become the tools to help me as I traveled down this dusty path.

Hemingway became my teacher. Yet how would I be able to effectively pull this off? How could I breathe life into my words and make another person believe in it? The answer was easier than I had imagined. Hemingway was a tortured man. He had a lot of demons to fight and the only way he felt freedom was when he wrote. Unfortunately, I don't think he realized how strong he really was. I may not be a literary scholar but, in my humble opinion, I felt that The Old Man and the Sea was a prime example of Hemingway's way of telling us to never give up even when the stakes are high..sadly, we all know the end to this tragic tale. Of course, in my twenties I made a trip out to see Hemingway's home in Key West, now turned into a museum. I made it a mission to visit the bars he frequented and places where he was honored. And during that trip, I could feel his presence. I could hear him whisper into my troubled mind--telling me to: Never Give Up.

To this day, I've channeled my inner Hemingway in all that I have written. Now that I've reached the middle of this winding road in my journey to publication, I may not be a literary genius, but I try to touch others with the same emotions and passions that I feel inside. I use the tools that Hemingway provided me in his book because what I've learned is that in knowing yourself, you are able to create something powerful. Something that will touch the lives of others regardless of what genre or type of story it may be. Regardless of what critics say or those that will try to beat down your strength to stop you from continuing on. Even now, I have learned from Hemingway's demons and when I feel like I will never catch that big contract, that Marlin, I can hear him whisper: Never Give Up.

Keep writing...Jenius Jax

Comments (6)

On February 9, 2009 at 12:09 PM , Kristen Painter said...

I don't think I've ever read Hemingway. I guess I should.

 
On February 9, 2009 at 12:34 PM , Jax Cassidy said...

I never understood a lot of Hemingways books, but they're worth the reading. Every once in a while I need to read something out of my element. It makes you think.

 
On February 9, 2009 at 1:21 PM , Naughty Nikki D said...

Such profound thoughts this Monday morning. I can't remember if I've read Hemingway, but I love the message you got from him. Very inspiring.

 
On February 9, 2009 at 2:37 PM , Abigail McKenley said...

Very uplifting post Jax! Great way to start the week. I read Hemmingway in high school and honestly, could't wait to tuck them away. I may just dust them off and try again.

 
On February 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM , marciacolette said...

OMG! I LOVE this post!! I think it's awesome that Hemingway inspired you in such a profound way. Very few people/things have ever done that for me, but when it happens, it's an wonderful feeling. ;-)

 
On February 10, 2009 at 1:49 PM , ~tivi jones said...

Wonderful post, Jax!

I work at a regional magazine and we have a new editorial intern who is very interested in being a writer. I've been chatting with her and I just told her today how amazing, supportive and uplifting the writing community can be. It's great not to have to eat my words. I think I'll forward this post to her for inspiration.

:)