What I would like, he thought, is a tall cold liter of beer in a thick heavy glass and a pomme à l’huile with coarse ground peppercorn on it.  But the beer on this coast was worthless and he thought happily of Paris and other places he had been and was pleased he had written something he knew was good and that he had finished it.  This was the first writing he had finished since they were married.  Finishing is what you have to do, he thought.  If you don’t finish, nothing is worth a damn.  Tomorrow I’ll pick up the narrative where I left it and keep right on until I finish it.  And how are you going to finish it?  How are you going to finish it now? 

As soon as he started to think beyond his work, everything that he had locked out by the work came back to him.  He thought of the night before and of Catherine and the girl today on the road that he and Catherine had driven two days before and he felt sick.  They should be on the way back now.  It’s afternoon.  Maybe they’re at the café.  Don’t be solemn, she had said.  But she meant something else too.  Maybe she knows what she’s doing.  Maybe she knows how it can turn out.  Maybe she does know.  You don’t know.

So you worked and now you worry.  You’d better write another story.  Write the hardest one there is to write that you know.  Go ahead and do that.  You have to last yourself if you’re to be any good to her.  What good have you been to her?  Plenty, he said.  No, not plenty.  Plenty means enough.  Go ahead and start the new one tomorrow.  The hell with tomorrow.  What a way to be.  Tomorrow. Go in and start it now.

He put the note and the key in his pocket and went back into the work room and sat down and wrote the first paragraph of the new story that he had always put off writing since he had known what a story was.  He wrote in in simple declarative sentences with all of the problems ahead to be lived through and made to come alive.  The very beginning was written and all he had to do was go on.  That’s all, he
said.  You see how simple what you cannot do is?  Then he came out onto the terrace and sat down and ordered a whiskey and Perrier.

–Ernest Hemingway, The Garden of Eden

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