Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Hemingway slept here

From Hemingway’s home in Key West to the train platform at King’s Cross Station, readers love to visit the haunts of their favorite writers and the key scenes from their favorite books. What literary pilgrimage have you made (or would like to make)?

by Dietrich

Great books create vivid scenes in our minds and can transport readers to different places and times. And that can be truly inspiring.

A literary pilgrimage can mean different things for each of us. A trip to some far off destination could be a jumping off point for a new novel of our own. Maybe it’s to see some historic sight or location from a favorite novel, or curiosity might draw us to visit a famous author’s home. Jane Austen’s readers may flock to Bath, England. Fans of Anne of Green Gables could feel a pull to Avonlea in Prince Edward Island, seeing the sites that Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote about.

Photo: A. Kalteis

Standing out front of Jack London’s Dawson City cabin (pictured) , relocated to his hometown at Jack London Square on Oakland’s waterfront, I pictured his adventures during the times of the Klondike gold rush, and imagined how he wrote The Call of the Wild and White Fang in that tiny space. 

I’ve been to Kerouac’s Bixby Canyon where he wrote Big Sur. I’ve visited Hemingway’s house in Key West where he wrote A Farewell to Arms, and I’ve stayed at the Clarion Hotel in Toronto where he resided when he worked as a journalist for The Toronto Star. 

Steinbeck’s Cannery Row in Monterey is a magical place, and the area is one of my favorite places to visit. I’ve seen the late great Ferlinghetti while browsing the aisles of City Lights in San Francisco, and I’ve sipped a cup at Caffee Trieste, where Mario Puzo penned The Godfather. And I’ve been to Bukowski’s old stomping grounds where he lived in Hollywood. I’ve driven along Casey Key in the Sarasota area of Florida where Stephen King likes to spend the winter months.

All of these places are cool to see, and as I said, an author can surely draw inspiration from experiences like that.

What literary pilgrimage would I like to make? It would be awesome to drive the preserved sections of Route 66, originally opened in 1926, the Mother Road as Steinbeck called it in The Grapes of Wrath. Although decommissioned as a highway in 1986, what’s left of the route is now labelled as a scenic byway with ‘Historic Route 66’ signs. Many roadside memories and signposts remain to remind travelers of the bygone times when the route was developed for long-distance car travel. It winds from Chicago to L.A. …


Brenda Chapman said...

You make me want to make a list of author haunts and travel, Dietrich!

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks Brenda.

Susan C Shea said...

Dietrich, Have you read ADIOS HEMINGWAY, by Leonardo Padura Fuentes (2005)? It's a novel about a Cuban ex-cop's obsession with Hemingway and his historic estate in Havana. He's a somewhat skeptical fan of the writer's. It's a detective story but more of a literary tale. I read it in translation recently. Indeed "Hemingway slept here" and the story is about what else he might have done.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

It sounds interesting, and I will check it out. Thanks Susan.