I am a literary man; by that I mean I read a lot and write a little. I love reading great writers; Ernest Hemingway – Papa – is one of my favourites. He cut his own life short at the age of sixty one, when one morning he pointed a loaded shotgun at his head and blew his own brains out. The Hemingways, it has to be said, have form when it comes to suicides. To date there have been five; Ernest; his own father Clarence; his sister Ursula; his brother Leicester; and his granddaughter Margaux. And the jury is out on Ernest’s son,Gregory, who died in strange circumstances in 2001. By that time Gregory was living as a transsexual called Gloria. As a betting man, it is tempting to calculate the odds of there being an official sixth victim in the foreseeable future.
My ‘little writing’ consists of a number of low-selling novels (very low) and about twenty stage plays, of which roughly 50% have managed to get low-key productions. Some performances were so low-key that the cast outnumbered the audience!
This is an excerpt from Lorian Hemingway’s memoir on her grandfather Ernest;
I had visited my grandfather’s grave in Ketchum the summer I had caught the marlin, arriving at the small hillside cemetery on a scalding July day, a half-finished fifth of vodka in one hand, a filter-tip cigar in the other. I’d made my way to the simple marble slab marked by a white cross, and stood swaying over the marker for a long time, expecting epiphany, resolution, a crashing, blinding flash of insight…. I wanted to say something of value to the old man, perhaps that I had met a dare he had set forth by example, but nothing came. The neck of the bottle grew hot in my hand. I tipped it to my mouth, taking a long swig, then poured the rest, a stream of booze, clear as Caribbean waters, at the head of the marker. “Here,” I said, “have this,” and walked away.