I couldn’t have done it without him. A lot was going on at the time, difficulty in work, rumors circulating, and personal trial, but he helped me through it. Under his influence, I slowed down in a demanding season.

One particular afternoon is dyed into my memory. I drove to my local coffeeshop and got the usual, cappuccino. The expresso is rich and smooth. Some coffeeshops use too much milk and water down the espresso but not here. It takes time to make so I take time to enjoy it.

I displaced swirling anxieties like a cannonball in a pool on a hot summer day. Plopping down in a chair in the warm sun, I opened The Old Man and the Sea. It was an act of resistance. I was fighting a big fish and Hemingway’s’ prose helped me surrender. It was an invitation that couldn’t be turned down.

Reading, sustained page turning not bouncing through click bait, is an act of resistance. It focuses a hurried, technologically charged mind. Page by page we say no to the speed of productivity. Thought by thought we learn to resist efficient ideology. Slowly we evolve, chapter by chapter, from consumer to pupil.

Ernest Hemingway taught me to observe. In order to observe, I have to be still. In being observantly still, I uncover some of the richer texture to life, the experiences and people right in front of me, the scents curling up from a hot sandwich, the crunch of lays potato chips, the vapid look of a stranger’s face, the plea for attention in a child’s cry, the realism of food-encrusted dishes waiting for a wash.

Life deserves a better look.

Thank you, Ernest Hemingway, for taking me to school in such a delightful way. Oh, and happy birthday (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961).