A Dog-Eared Page: Travels with Myself and Another

You know the feeling: you discover a new writer, you devour their work and wonder how can it be that in all your reading you’ve never come across them before. You fight the urge to feel gypped and take comfort in the fact that you’ve seen the light and found a kindred spirit. You finish the book, favorite quotes/passages underlined, and add the book to a shelf of “can’t live without” books.

This happened to me while reading Martha Gellhorn’s Travels with Myself and Another. A former war correspondent, writer and Hemingway’s third wife, Martha lived an extraordinary life. For a woman who came of age in the 20s, worked and traveled the globe in the 1940s, she is brave and adventurous. The best way I can describe her is that she is the embodiment of gumption. She carved out a role for herself as a writer, bucked traditional gender roles, and boldly treks through China (during WW2) and Africa (solo). She’s not afraid of being alone or exploring (as long as she has a few novels in tow), she’s in her element as a curious adventurer and makes some seriously astute observations of what she sees, the essence of human nature and what she believes the future will hold.

And then I read this passage…

[…] this was infinite space. The idea of no boundaries, no end, is terrifying in the abstract and much worse if you are looking at it. The far-off stars were an icy crust; the darkness beyond the stars was more than I could handle. The machinery that keeps me going is not geared to cope with infinity and eternity as so clearly displayed in that sky.”

Beautifully written, evocative prose that brings back my own memories of standing underneath a smattering of stars scattered across an inky black sky. Just a small moment captured on a page, but one that allows the reader’s mind to wander to a memory of a night spent star-gazing and contemplating their place in the universe.

Happy 2nd birthday  (and 100th grid) to YeahWrite. What’s YeahWrite you ask? Click the stellar party hat badge and find out for yourself.

42 thoughts on “A Dog-Eared Page: Travels with Myself and Another

    • Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I had never heard of her either until I stumbled across her book on a staff recommendations book shelf at a small bookstore in Vermont.

    • I didn’t see it (alas no HBO for this girl). I’m waiting for it to be on Netflix or iTunes so I can see it. Confession: I can’t quite picture Clive Owen as Hemingway.

    • I’m with you! Although, there comes a point in time where my to-read list becomes a little overwhelming. I can’t read as fast as I come across about books that I’m dying to read.

  1. I’ve been fascinated with historical fiction about Hemingway’s loves lately. I just finished reading “The Paris Wife” and I’ve started “Hemingway’s Girl.” He was certainly an interesting man, and that was reflected in his love lives, as well, I think.

    • Stacie, you’ll have to let me know how the Paris Wife is…it’s another on my “to read” list. I’ve been on a Hemingway kick lately and think it would round out the series quite nicely. 🙂

    • Agreed. I think that’s why we’re so drawn to writing ourselves — to make sense of our lives and connect with others. And there is that bit of, “wow, I wish I had written something that good!”

    • It is one of my favorite aspects of reading. And then, if someone asks me what famous people (dead or alive) would you invite to dinner, I’ve got a stellar list to choose from 🙂

  2. Having spent four days one block away from the Hemingway House in Key West without visiting it, I still feel residual guilt and am thinking that reading this book just might help me quell it…Thanks for the review!

  3. Was it you who posted an extract of this book previously and got me totally piqued?? So…many…blogs…can’t remember! And yet, I still haven’t read it. Thanks for your (possibly second) reminder 🙂

    • I don’t think so…this was my first blog post in awhile (esp. since I started reading the book). But I love that other bloggers have captured their favorite quotes from this book. Will have to scour the interwebs…

    • Now I’m definitely going to have to pick up The Paris Wife. I read A Moveable Feast awhile back and fell in love with Hemingway and the ex-pat community in 1920s Paris, so I’d imagine it’s a richly told tale of that moment in time.

      • No doubt! I get the sense each of Hemingway’s wives had very distinct traits, the latter different from the former even in some small way, but it’s the quote about Hadley, “I wished I had died before I loved anyone but her.”, that makes my heart ache.

  4. I saw this book not long ago and thought it would be an interesting read. Now I will definitely have to check it out!

  5. From one Erin to another 🙂 This reminds me of being about 9 years old and really pondering the idea of eternal afterlife. It freaked me out to think of living FOREVER, even in heaven where everything is perfect. I don’t deal well with infinity either. But I love stargazing.

    • I feel the exact same way–maybe it’s an Erin thing? (Nah, probably universal 🙂 ). Stargazing is still one of my favorite things to do on a crisp night in the woods. You feel so small, yet part of something so grand.

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