Paris France at Night

“About Ernest” Newsletter

March 2024

Dear Friends,

You’ll notice I’ve changed the name of the newsletter to reflect work on my new book as well as a variety of Hemingway-related topics. With Spring around the corner, it reminds me of “printemps” in Paris, a time I love. This year however I’ll be returning in September, another beautiful time of year (aren’t all seasons in Paris beautiful?), and I invite you to join me. You’ll see more details
below.

Best regards,

Darla

 

JOIN ME IN PARIS:  I never tire of walking around Ernest’s Left Bank neighborhood—the Luxembourg gardens, La Closerie des Lilas, Café de Flore—and I always enjoy showing other writers around Paris during The Left Bank Writers Retreat. I’m delighted to announce the 2024 dates, August 31 – September 6, during my favorite month in Paris when the autumn light bathes the city in gold. Poets, novelists, nonfiction writers and playwrights are welcome. And in more good news, the fabulous Tyler Truman Julian – college writing instructor,
community writing workshop leader, poetry journal editor and published novelist and poet (and former Left Bank Writers Retreat attendee!) will be joining this year’s retreat as our 2024 Writer in Residence! For more on Tyler and this year’s upcoming retreat, visit leftbankwriters.com.

Joan Miro, “The Farm,” 1922 (PC: The National Gallery of Art, Washington)

THE OLD MAN AND THE FARM: (title borrowed from Vanity Fair): The research stage of a book is so much fun, a fact-finding treasure hunt. But I often fall down a rabbit hole on the internet, as one search leads to another leads to another and hours evaporate.
This week, I was writing a scene that takes place in 1957 but I needed to learn more about Ernest Hemingway’s favorite painting, Joan Miró’s 1922 masterpiece The Farm. But as with many things about Hemingway, the painting sparked a bitter fight at the end of his life—and the story could be its own book.  Hemingway became friends with Miró in 1920s Paris, scraping together the money to buy a painting of Miró’s family property near Madrid that had taken Miro nine months to complete. The painting first hung in the apartment Ernest and Hadley shared in Paris, next in Hadley’s apartment after their divorce, then Ernest asked to borrow it back and hung it in Key West, and eventually it was moved to the Finca Vigía, his residence in Cuba. Eventually, the Museum of Modern Art in New York asked to borrow it for an exhibition, and,
through some complicated maneuvering, it was shipped out of Cuba to MOMA where it was restored. Then, after Hemingway’s death, his fourth (final) wife, Mary, fought Hadley over ownership, and then snubbed MOMA, giving it to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where it currently lives. You can read more about it in Vanity Fair, here

Boats on the River Seine (PC: DiscoA340/Creative Commons)

OLYMPIC FEAT: The River Seine was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway’s for fishing, and there’s a story that when Sylvia Beach’s parrot escaped and flew away, it perched across the river and Ernest jumped in the Seine to rescue it. Before 2024, I can’t imagine anyone swimming in it—sink and toilet water would pour into it after heavy rainstorms. But for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, Paris has spent millions to transform the river into a pristine swimming pool. I look forward to seeing the sparkling clean river restored to its glory. Listen to the NPR story on the clean-up here.

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