Of Hemingway, Cecil and the Zest For Life

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.

We took a vacation to “The Keys” this week and unfortunately vacations have to come to an end. When you come down here it’s all about being laid back and it’s a lot of chickens, conch and Hemingway. Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American novelist, short-story writer, journalist, and sportsman. He had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations. He published seven novels, six short-story collections, and two nonfiction works. Three of his novels, four short-story collections, and three nonfiction works were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics in American Literature. I read a couple of his novels years ago, The Sun Also Rises and The Old Man In The Sea. Probably America’s most famous writer and his name itself has become part of our vocabulary. A hack writer is scolded: “You’re no Hemingway!” A young writer is encouraged to become a “future Hemingway.” I never was the biggest fan but After watching the PBS special, I did admire him for his zest of life and his thirst for adventure. Playboy magazine published a glowing piece about Hemingway as a man who mastered life and was the epitome of a worldly life well lived. Hunter, fisherman, world traveler. You name it he probably has done it. He crammed every shred of adventure he could into his life. Which brings me to Cecil.

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There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed

I met Cecil five or so years ago and if anyone has the Hemingway renaissance spirit minus the depression and alcoholism it is Cecil. I have always said in life there are not but a few people who you meet that the good Lord just made one of. I have met 4 of those people. Cecil being one of the four. Cecil has a zest for life that I could only wish for. Don’t get me wrong, I love life but Cecil has a zest for life with a capital ZEST. What do I mean? Cecil approaches a situation, or life in general, with excitement and energy, not approaching tasks or activities halfway or halfheartedly…. I’m talking head on. For most of us, the experience of uncaused joy and zest for life fades as we grow older —as we become immersed in the world of bills, commitments, duties and responsibilities… the dull and boring adult stuff and no doubt he has that. He owns his business so he has the adult stuff.

Whereas I once leapt joyfully out of bed in the morning, the alarm going off at 5am. Now a groan and the desire to bury your head, ostrich-like, back beneath the covers. By 5 am Cecil is on his second breakfast. Having a zest for life doesn’t mean that we have to be scaling mountains or jumping out of planes or even bungy jumping which I am sure if Cecil hasn’t experienced it, he will. It simply means feeling alive and having an appetite to experience life.

Courage is grace under pressure

Going through the past year and a half with sickness and recovery I am trying to get my zest of life back. I have actually experienced depression, something that I never thought to be capable of. With the stupid virus it has been more difficult. I look to friends like Cecil to help me get the zest back. Cheers to life. Oh and cheers to you, Ed.

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