B.O.S.S. Outwardly Omnipotent Omission #0000000000020
There comes a time when the sky parts. When the white becomes blue becomes red, as a sky often might. When one must obscenity in the milk of thy shame! When a club of books reaches its twentieth invitation! When all who partake must ask themselves if this is how it is. And if this is how it is, then it shall indeed be. And if thy hearts must swell, let them swell authentically. To the size of a warm bag of red wine on a hot summer’s day, bursting. To swell to the song of all those who came before and all those to come. All those who might be found reading:
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
And reading it is going to be cool for the following reasons:
Who hasn’t found themselves engrossed in the magical fable of an aging fisherman battling an enormous swordfish wrapped up in a tight little allegory for this thing called life? Or the complexities surrounding an electric mix of endless drinking, unrequited love, and war-injury-related impotence? Or even the nostalgic real life tales of throwing on yet another sweater in order to make it through a chilly, bohemian day in a cold water Paris flat, churning out pure sentence after pure sentence in haggard comfort? (The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises, A Moveable Feast)
Or perhaps it is the tale of an American foreign language professor somehow skilled in large scale explosives traveling to aid guerrillas behind enemy lines in the Spanish Civil War that rings so true? The brutality of living a life full of love in only a day, cramming the forever into the now? The ability to shelter thy sweet rabbit with thy left hand and fight fascism with thy right? (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
Or perhaps it might be the love between an American ambulance driver and an English nurse on the Italian front in the first World War? The crisp delivery of detail and dialogue, concurrently deadpan and brimming with desire? The seminal blueprint for decades of Western war novels to come? (A Farewell to Arms)
It seems like the perfect time to take another look at Old Papa and his truth-isms. Are they the view into the early 20th century that we once took them to be? The deft accounts of romanticism in a time of barbarism and collapse? The ushering in of new art forms merging efficient journalism with the unbearably identifiable aspects of private lives? Or are we working with the origin of American High Fantasy? The proto-architecture for Jack Ryan, John McClane, and Bryan Mills?
Perhaps it is all of the above.
A Farewell to Arms is fairly compact, so let’s shoot for a single meet-up in September.
Sorry about all the times everyone obscenity’d in thy milk and such,
B.O.S.S. Department of Iceberg Theory
Post-script: In August we will be doing a collection of short podcasts on Hemingway’s short stories. Should you desire to read along, check out: “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “Hills Like White Elephants,” “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” and “Killers.”