So, I was reading a little Hemmingway last night, “The Torrents of Spring” to be exact. My 1972 Charles Scriber’s and Sons version of the story has been sitting unread on my book shelves for years. Or, more acurately, it has been lying somewhere in the middle of a dusty pile of books in the attic, until just recently, when I got a new glass fronted china hutch-turned-bookshelf at the antique store where I sell soap and work twice a month. Now, finally, the book sits amidst other classic books on a proper shelf where it can be found without hours of fruitless searching.
I made it through the first chapter before sleep got the better of me, and I set it aside to pick up again this morning. But all night, I kept waking with this burning question in my mind.
“Is it really possible for a human being, or two human beings to be exact, to stay drunk for four days straight”?
Or even longer?
Or is this just one of those techniques Hemmingway used to add depth and character to his story? You know…one of those things that keep a person wondering just enough to make sure they keep coming back to the book, and perhaps even trying their own four day bender at some point.
“Sometimes they drank for a week at a time. It did them good. It made Scripps strong.”
This post certainly isn’t attempting to analyse Hemmingway’s story. But perhaps his technique is something to be scrutinized. I’ve been thinking about this all night. Could I really stay drunk for a week? Would liquor make me strong? Would it do me good? Enrich my life? Make me smart?
I do know the answers, which is why, I suppose, that the questions stay in my mind for so long. I know the effects of alcohol on the human body….you have to sleep off the effects at some point. And strength, as far as I know, has always been hindered by the bottle.
I don’t know why this subject has gotten me all riled up this morning. Maybe because unless a story is of the science fiction or magical realism genre, it really should be truthful? Or maybe there are actually some people who can become stronger with a heightened sense self through drinking alcohol?
Irreguardless, I think I will just relax and not focus on details that seem far-fetched, and finish up the story. It’s a good one.
But of course. It’s Hemmingway.