So, there we were down on the beach with the opportunity of a life time. I could actually ask Hemingway THAT question!
However, do you think I could find the words? I had enough trouble writing a letter to Ted Hughes and I pretty much sidestepped all of that. Although Hemingway is known for his trademark, minimalist style, does that mean I can simply ask him straight out, at point blank range?
Well, I’m about to find out.
Using a permanent marker, I wrote the letters on the back of an old receipt:
Before I could change my mind, I stuffed the note into the bottle and my son threw it far beyond the waves. Of course, some crazed mutt sploshed through the surf trying to retrieve it but gave up once they’d found their old stick.
I didn’t know how long I’d have to wait for a reply and to be perfectly honest, was rather apprehensive. Who in their right mind would have the insensitivity to ask a question like that? So much for the Golden Rule and putting myself in someone else’s shoes. I’d let my insatiable curiosity totally overpower all discernment. Why couldn’t I simply leave the man in peace?
However, almost immediately, I spotted the bottle floating back through the waves towards us. Despite being fully dressed, the kids strode out through the water to retrieve it. Battling it out, of course, to see who could get there first. Without any hesitation or directions from me, our daughter popped the cork and pulled out the note:
Please don’t let my death
define my life.
A very valid point! Indeed, so wise!
I really loved The Old Man & The Sea and I no longer needed to read in between the lines.
He just was.
This has been part of a philosophical series of letters to Dead Poets who have inspired me, which is part of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. They are a cocktail of fiction and non-fiction.