Hemingway and Politics

“I was reading A Moveable Feast, Hemingway’s memoir about his years in Paris, and there was a passage in which he learned how to write by studying Cezanne paintings. I had Thursday afternoons free that semester, and Georgetown Law School  was just six blocks away from the national gallery. So I started going down to the National Gallery. That was the first time that I really understood there was such a thing as art. I started trying to understand why they put certain things in and why they didn’t. Just on my own, looking at them. I had just finished reading A Farewell to Arms, and I walked into a room and there was a painting on the wall, and I said, If Hemingway had painted, he would have painted that picture. And it was a Cezanne.

“And I went, Wow, I have learned something. I don’t even know what I’ve learned, but I know I’ve learned something. Finally, I understood. It was the same tone–the bluntness. And my writing really took off at that point.

The most disciplined thing I’ve ever done in my life is the act of writing a book.”

Jim Webb, (Virginia Senator and former Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan), as featured in an Esquire interview by K.K. Ottesen, 2008


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