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I’m writing to you from Key West, FL.
When people think of Key West they mostly think of key lime pie, which I am sorry to say, I can’t even stomach.
However, when I saw on my calendar I was booked to be in Key West I thought of only one name: Hemingway!
About a decade ago I first visited Ernest Hemingway’s home here with my wife and our friends. Today I enjoyed the tour once again and am inspired.
He is one of the great prolific writers in American History.
Come to find out, he wrote 70% of his stories, many of which were made into movies, while he was here for 9 years of his life.
Every morning he would cross the catwalk on the upper balcony of his beautiful home to the hay house he converted into a writer’s studio and dutifully write from 5 AM-1 PM.
In this very room came ideas and inspiration for some of the greatest novels of all-time, including Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms, Green Hills of Africa, For Whom The Bell Tolls, among others.
At 1 PM he would venture out to the Key West beaches, enjoy his yacht named Pilar, fish, think, and drink.
He suffered from severe depression but it wasn’t known at the time, so the doctor prescribed alcohol as the remedy.
He also had many mistresses and by the end of his days had been married 4 times.
He was the original macho man, going on safari, surviving 2 plane crashes 2 days in a row, 9 concussions, was at Normandy the day the beaches were stormed in WWII, and once dragged a urinal 9 blocks to stick in the front yard because his wife had spent $20,000 installing a pool while he was on a trip (the equivalent of $330,000 today).
The man was crazy enough to ruin many lives and homes due to his philandering and drinking, and yet was awarded a Pulitzer, the Nobel Prize, and one of three civilians in American history to receive a Bronze Star for bravery.
He was the best and the worst of both worlds. Eventually he took his own life with a double barrel shotgun after being told he would be institutionalized for being insane.
It is a tragic story and may be more fascinating than any life’s story he ever created.
I believe we can choose to be either side of the coin. We can allow the worst of ourselves to hold us back, wreak havoc on the lives of those all around us, or we can be disciplined, make a difference, spread joy and peace.
Hemingway did much of both.
I guess maybe all of us are a little bit of both.
He is inspiring on one end of the spectrum and devastating on the other.
Following the tour I had to get back to the hotel as fast as I could.
Now I am sitting in my hotel room cranking this blog out while looking out at the calling ocean and beach.
And yet, I am sitting in my room doing the work.
Just like Hemingway would have.
What is your work, and what is your Promise to be your best self?
My work here is done – time to go catch some rays and enjoy the ocean.
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
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