Right after I posted my blog article ‘As I Look Back’, I came across one of Hemingway’s quotes in his biography by Carlos Baker that I hadn’t noticed before. I’ve read this book several times since September 1980, when I first bought it. As I have mentioned earlier in ‘A Fine Dark Place’, every time you read a book, the same book, you discover something new in it. Whether it has something to do with your mood, state of mind, knowledge, your purpose for reading, or the story, character, structure, or plot itself.
When you reach a certain phase in your life when much is said and done, your view of life, your perspectives and your priorities change. Each day that passes adds or takes away from you. Everything you do or experience on a regular basis on any ordinary day has its effects on you. You are never the same person twice. Just like two sunsets are not exactly the same regardless of how alike they might seem. Time changes you no matter what.
“The strangeness of Time. Not in its passing, which can seem infinite, like a tunnel whose end you can’t see, whose beginning you’ve forgotten, but in the sudden realization that something finite, has passed, and is irretrievable.” Joyce Carol Oates
In 1986 I had a major setback when I faced a health crisis. At first I was shocked but then as the news settled in I felt hurt. I had to make a decision and I had to make it fast. During my adolescence I had been under the impression that my life cannot be anything but good and as such I was not prepared for this.
“You know, we’re kicking our way to adolescence from the minute we’re born. Gradually you form your own ideas of how you should lead your life. It’s strange, but when you get hurt – really hurt, I mean – you’re willing to throw those ideas aside for another set that now makes sense to you and calm your heart.” Ernest Hemingway
A different kind of hurt took over. I realized that there was a thin line separating life from death. There I was in the prime of my life having to make a decision, and whatever the outcome, I would never emerge the same person again. I would not be able to carry on like before. The real hurt came when I had to give up certain things that I loved to do and adopt a different lifestyle. It marked both the end and the beginning to me as only I myself would know. As Simone De Beauvoir wrote:
“Mankind was no set of pawns to be moved, no stake to be risked, no force to be harnessed; each man carried his truth in the most secret depth of his being, out of all reach; what happened to him belonged only to him; it would never be possible to provide any compensation.”