Have you ever wished you could sit down and have a conversation with literary giant Ernest Hemingway?
Since the Nobel Prize-winning author is not available, many would also find a conversation with his grandson quite intriguing.
John Hemingway, son of Ernest's son Gregory, will be on hand Oct. 10 at Rosemary Beach.
Although born and raised in
Born in 1960, Ernest committed suicide in 1961, when John was 11 months old. He is often asked to talk about his famous grandfather, whom he never met, but feels like he understands.
He remembers being about 10 years old when he first heard of his famous grandfather, but the enormity of the name he carries and the legacy did not sink in until after he had graduated from college and was traveling in
While John knew about his grandfather's accomplishments early on, it was only later that he was hit by the fact that many people almost worshipped his grandfather.
"It was humbling. It makes you think about what he had accomplished," he said.
Through the years, John has talked to family members who met and knew his grandfather and could give him insight into the man who is legend.
John has read all his grandfather's writings and says his favorites are his short stories.
Many have researched and examined Hemingway's writings and in turn written about the man, but in penning his own book about him, John looked first and foremost to personal correspondence between his father and his grandfather.
John describes his book "Stranger Tribe: A Family Memoir" as a biography of his father, who was bipolar, and in his later years, referred to himself as Gloria. The book addresses the issue of his father's cross-dressing and sex reassignment and its connection to Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway said he was close to his father at times, and at times not. From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, he was not.
"With him being bipolar, there were plenty of ups and downs," he said.
To understand his father, who died in 2001 at age 69, Hemingway realized he had to write about his grandfather.
To comprehend their relationship, he used a lot of letters they wrote in the 1950s to each other that have never been published before.
"My book took a departure from the average Hemingway memoir," he said. "I don't see my father as a black sheep. I see him as a logical extension of his father. My grandfather experimented with words and my father experimented with his body."
Gregory had a series of five operations to attempt to alter his sexuality.
"But he remains my father," said John. "I did not think I had two mothers. The person is the person. Although at times he thought he was a freak."
John believes his father, like Ernest, suffered from deep clinical depression and when he was in the mildly manic phase, he was creative. He says it was while in one of the periods of deep depression that his grandfather killed himself. He believes the mental struggles may have complicated the sexual identity confusion in his father.
"My father was born in 1931. At that time there was no help except for Lithium. You just deal with it," he said.
Even though his mother also had mental problems, John has escaped the curse. He has two children, a boy and a girl, ages 16 and 10.
"They know who he (their great grandfather) is. But it's not something that stands at the center of their existence. They are normal kids," he said.
During his research prior to writing his memoir, John said he learned a lot about his grandfather, with the most interesting coming from his posthumously published "The Garden of Eden," which hit shelves in 1986.
"This book basically caused a literary tidal wave," said John. "Before release of this work he was largely viewed as a lover of women, wine, a fisherman, a macho man. Doing a 180-degree turn people then saw a macho man with a twist — macho revolutionalized. They asked themselves if this was a writer they did not know."
"He was the student of a lesbian who sent him to see bull fights where the groom is symbolized by a bull and the bride by the bullfighter. After the dance the sword is inserted. It touched upon his ideas of the union between male and female. It made sense," he continued. "There have been thousands of books published and interest in everything he has written about. He made
A Conversation With John Hemingway is sponsored by the Rosemary Beach Foundation. The Oct. 10 event will be held at
Hemingway said he does not go into such talks with notes and each one is different.
"I never know how it will go. I just see where each one takes me," he said. "It makes it interesting."
For more information visit www.rosemarybeachfoundation.org.