Killing Ernest

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." - Hemingway

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Haunted by Hemingway

He was poor, unknown, struggling, in love with Hadley — and never happier. “We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other,” he wrote. “That is the sort of happiness you should not tinker with but nearly everyone you knew tried to adjust it.” He came to this conclusion when he was broken man, and would soon end his life in the foyer of this house in Idaho. Among his many regrets: “I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.”

Filed under Ernest Hemingway writing literature hemingway

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Just love it when my friends stop through Chicago for a visit. Loved showing off our fair city to a girl from the Bay.  (at Ohio Street Beach)

Just love it when my friends stop through Chicago for a visit. Loved showing off our fair city to a girl from the Bay. (at Ohio Street Beach)

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A Michigan beach and a new Jim Harrison novel is just about the perfect way to spend this fine three-day weekend.  (at Silver Beach Saint Joseph, MI)

A Michigan beach and a new Jim Harrison novel is just about the perfect way to spend this fine three-day weekend. (at Silver Beach Saint Joseph, MI)

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Hemingway's Hidden Metafictions in "The Sun Also Rises"

As a writer, Hemingway’s breakout work has always been intimidating to me. That he could produce so powerful a work at such a young age gets more frustrating with every year that I age. 

This article demonstrates that there isn’t as much to live up to as I tend to think. 

Filed under Ernest Hemingway Literature writing metafiction writer Hemingway The Sun Also Rises

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After Water Fiction: Water Men by Tim Akimoff


You were born on August 4, 2114. You were 21 inches long, and you weighed seven pounds, six ounces.

We are water men.

I’ve been writing you letters every year on your birthday, because it’s important for you to know where you came from, so you might know where we are going.

Your great-great-grandfather Bryan Murrel wrote letters to me every year from the year I was born, until the year that he died in 2094. He worked in technology, the last of the family to do so.

That was before the water jobs.

My grandfather, Jeffery Murrel, wrote letters too.

And my father, Burnham Murrel, well, he just likes to tell you stories in person. Never was a man of letters.

Bryan Murrel came to Chicago way back when California burned, when the Southwest was only barely habitable.

He came on a great tide of immigrants that melted into the city like water disappears into the sand when the waves wash up on the shore.

B, as his friends called him, found work almost immediately. You might not think that would be easy for a black man in a new city with no family around him. But the droughts changed people.  Made them realize they needed each other to survive. People of every kind could find work in the water economy.

The lakes were protected in those days by The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, which you no doubt know about from your history classes.

But what they will not tell you is how the compact became our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, and very soon, our Declaration of Independence.

What they will not tell you is how we got from there to here.

That is for me to do.  

B Murrel started a small business making broadband receivers that lifted signals from towers that didn’t reach the South Side.

This enabled people in his neighborhood of Ashburn to access the internet, which he used to teach kids how to start their own water purification businesses. He also taught chess and cooking classes online, because he thought people needed to eat better and play smarter.

That man was a born educator.

His son Jeffery Murrel was born in 2033. He was the oldest of six brothers and two sisters.

That not one of them went into technology or took up their daddy’s business never bothered B much.

He always had his eye on the future. Other men only saw money, but your great-great-grandfather must have seen you reflected back at him in that blue water every time he walked down on the shores of Lake Michigan.

He moved the family out of Ashburn when the first water war broke out in 2042. He sold everything and moved them to a farm in Northern Michigan.  

Jeffery, or J, as his friends called him, was the first in our family to work in water. He studied law and hydrogeology and helped the governments of Quebec and Ontario establish stronger water laws protecting the water of the Great Lakes basin as well as the rights of the basin states and provinces.

His science proved that the Laurentian Great Lakes basin was a singular entity, and he successfully mapped the watershed—providing the first definitive boundary of the basin. This allowed Toronto to create the first borders on the north side of the basin in 2050.  

Jeffery must have seen you reflected in the lake as well, because he could’ve made a lot of money in the new economy like his father, but he chose science and law over profit.

J left Michigan for Toronto. He met Miss Nana Asma’u there. She was named after the great Nigerian poet and educator. J married her a month later despite his parents’ objections.

She was Muslim, and our family’s new religion was water.

Your great-grandfather wrote me a letter about his marriage, and this is what he said.

"There is an old saying about water and oil not mixing. My father told me not to marry Nana, because she’s oil, and I’m water. But I told my father that old sayings don’t belong in the future, because if they were still true, then they would not be old sayings."

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Filed under great lakes dystopia politics