Just finished reading Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it, but it’s kind of like Moby Dick — only a whole lot shorter! It is really extraordinary what a great writer can do with a little bit of theme. Basically a fellow goes fishing, in Hemingway’s story, and yet the tale reveals bits of an entire life.
Also in recent weeks, I’ve read John Hilton’s Lost Horizons and Ursula Le Guin’s Lathe of Heaven — both wonderful stories. I had not meant to become seriously diverted with reading, but I’m on a roll. One trip to the library netted me a pile of books (still thinking in fishing terms), and they chanced to be so good that once I began a story, I couldn’t quit!
Back to Hemingway’s tale though, if you’ve read it you know it’s very visual. And if you’ve read this blog, you know that I’m often preoccupied with the topic of fishes. So, diving deep into this story I was confronted with some issues of my own life. Was beginning to wonder if I’d need to illustrate something from the story.
I like monumental art. But would I really do a fish that large? Are all fish stories questions about magnitude? Does my fish affectionately named Pixel need to grow? And would my apartment studio accomodate him? Would anyone ever purchase his picture if I did it? Or would I live with a giant painting of a fish the rest of my life?
Got to mull over these and other questions. Meanwhile, I’m moving on to the next book. My next Hemingway selection will be Moveable Feast. I can manage that much. Food. Still life. Been there, done that.
Meanwhile, wishing you safe seas.
[Top of the post: Two Men in a Boat, by Aletha Kuschan, aquatint]