The greatest story

Written by on July 3, 2011 in Faith and Spiritual Life, Notes By The Way with 0 Comments

John Walsh speculates in this article about why Ernest Hemmingway committed suicide.  He doesn’t deny Hemmingway’s brilliance and acts of bravery, but he paints of picture of a man captivated by an image, addicted to alcohol, and bent on self-destruction.

What was bugging Hemingway? Why all the drinking, the macho excess, the manic displays of swaggering? Why was he so drawn to war, shooting, boxing and conflict? Why did he want to kill so many creatures? Was he trying to prove something? Or blot something out of his life?

I’m struck that a man like Hemmingway, who seemed to live a BIG life that others aspire to, might have never been truly free; this man of far reaching imagination, a genius at crafting stories, may never have seen his own story truly.  Did he taste the fullness of life, or was he so desperate to escape a shallow existence that he attempted it with a pen and his imagination?

I know what it’s like to walk around looking for stories and pictures, spinning bits and pieces of narratives and dialogues as I walk like kicking stones. I can easily get lost in the words; it’s like listening to another voice, or voices, that can please the crowd better than I can — a fantasy. What if I got lost in that?

If I write, or tell stories with pictures or video, I want these to come from myself.  I don’t want to craft myself from the stories.

I’d rather give up playing with words and images entirely than lose my own often tenuous connections to the world and people and God in this moment — to my own wife and children, who are upstairs going to sleep as I type. The greatest story I know is the story I get to live, and it’s happening way to fast, or slow, to write about.  I suppose I could write about watching the wind blow through the grass as I walked by the river this evening, but who would want to read about that — or write about it (once the moment passes). Okay, Annie Dillard. I don’t know how she did it; and I could only read half of that book.

I think I’ll go peak in at those kids now.

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About the Author

About the Author: Andy Gray is a writer and photographer living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and working with Alongsiders International. You can find him puttering around the streets of Phnom Penh on his Suzuki Viva 125, running stoplights and driving on the wrong side of the road or on the sidewalks like a local. If you see him in a coffee shop, he'll be the one typing and deleting the same line over and over again. .


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