This week my family and I took a trip to the Florida Keys. It was a great adventure that I hate to return from. I have seen smiling teenagers (hard to come by) and a seasick wife (not as surprising as the smiling teenagers). The water there was blue and clear and the sun shone in abundance. I consumed conch for the first time which was wonderfully placed in the middle of a fritter. I must confess that if it is in a fritter I will eat almost anything. I think I just like to say fritter. We also spent a day in Key West which was a very unique place, especially for a hillbilly like me. The smell of food (always my vacation theme) permeated the streets there as we strolled from sight to sight.
My favorite thing there was Ernest Hemingway’s home. The tour guide told Hemingway’s story as we explored and I tried to imagine the life of the famous writer. We even got to pet some six toed cats. Then we went into a small building in the back where Hemingway wrote many of his stories. It was here that I started to consider the heart of a writer, and if I in fact have one.Hemingway’s story was one of great adventure and daring. It was also littered with infidelity and alcoholism. The truth is today he probably would have been diagnosed with some mental disorder. He left a wake of broken homes and torn hearts wherever he went. He took his own life in the end. As I thought on these things I wondered if a writer had to give up all the things he loved in order to be successful. I know that this is an extreme example but I can point to many of the greats who had similar lives. Does creative genius come with a price? Do I have to forsake all I hold so dear in order to write well?
The fact is that I love my life. God has blessed me with a wonderful family. I have never been hungry and have always had somewhere with a roof to sleep. I do not aspire to be an astonishing writer. I only hope that maybe my meager scribbles might brighten somebody’s day a little. Perhaps I may inspire someone to create something of their own. I may persuade you to abandon reading all together but I hope this isn’t the case.
I think maybe, as I consider creative prowess and how it is obtained, that one does not have to sacrifice love to gain it. Maybe it is inherited or perhaps it is developed, but whatever the case, I know I won’t destroy my home to obtain it. I think, in the end, we all have something to say. I may not do it as well as Hemingway or Fitzgerald but at least you heard me today. I hope you will hear me again.