On the path towards mastery the aspiring artist can become deeply lonely and self-conscious, that is why there is nothing more important than being guided by someone that has walked the path. These mentors, slowly evolving into the most intimate friendships, are the only people that can provide the necessary advice to foster the integrity, faith, and sanity required for creative work. F Scotts Fitzgerald became a mentor, that evolved into an intimate friendship, for Ernest Hemingway while destitute in Paris trying to make a name for himself. Ernest Hemingway On Creativity shows us the power of heartbreak to stimulate art.
Scott is the reason Hemingway received his first book deal, and the relationship became a space of closeness and confidentiality; reviewing each other’s books, providing wisdom on love, and Hemingway was even willing to take a look at all of Scott’s insecurities. In a letter to Scott, Hemingway shared his feelings about him as a writer, and even condemned him for continuing to love someone so cruel to him; only a friend that comes from a place of deep compassion can tell us about ourselves and we be obliged to do something:
Jesus it’s marvellous to tell other people how to write, live, die etc.
I’d like to see you and talk about things with you sober. You see, Bo, you’re not a tragic character. Neither am I. All we are is writers and what we should do is write. Of all people on earth you needed discipline in your work and instead you marry someone who is jealous of your work, wants to compete with you and ruins you.
It’s not as simple as that and I thought Zelda was crazy the first time I met her and you complicated it even more by being in love with her and, of course you’re a rummy. But you’re no more of a rummy than Joyce is and most good writers are. But Scott, good writers always come back. Always. You are twice as good now as you were at the time you think you were so marvellous. I never thought so much of Gatsby at the time. You can write twice as well now as you ever could. All you need to do is write truly and not care about what the fate of it is.
Go on and write.
We had good times talking. Remember that guy we went out to see dying in Neuilly? He was down here this winter. Damned nice guy Canby Chambers. Saw a lot of Dos. He’s in good shape now and he was plenty sick this time last year. How is Scotty and Zelda? Pauline sends her love. We’re all fine. She’s going up to Piggott for a couple of weeks with Patrick. Then bring Bumby back. We have a fine boat. Am going good on a very long story. Hard one to write.
Always your friend
Life is sometimes sad; we must–whether through fraternities, family, work, or merely being present in all our interactions– develop a relationship with people that is supportive, encouraging, and shares a value of crafting, creating, and producing. Ernest Hemingway was blessed during his relationship with Hadley Richardson to receive the love, that rests at the foundation of creativity, his mentor F. Scott Fitzgerald never received from a partner. The mentorship evolved into a space of honesty, compassion, and trust that is necessary when moving through the world and reaching a higher and higher status. People have a tendency to lose themselves, but being able to have people that are honest keeps us grounded. The qualities that create everlasting friendship is shown when Hemingway says:
I believe that basically you write for two people; yourself to try to make it absolutely perfect; or if not that then wonderful; Then you write for who you love whether she can read or write or not and whether she is alive or dead. I think Scott in his strange mixed-up Irish catholic monogamy wrote for Zelda and when he lost all hope in her and she destroyed his confidence in himself he was through.
We all want support, and to feel that we belong. Man pretends to love his loneliness, but we crave the gentle pull of our hands by another person; the comfort of rubbing our fingers through a lover’s hair, and the safety of someone allowing you to touch caress their body. We enjoy, and need, connection, support, and encouragement. Beyond the sexual and romantics we need people that are willing to love us, guide us, and remind us that life is worth living. Ernest found that in his mentor F. Scott Fitzgerald, and, before he began his many love affairs, found the love and confidence, always necessary for any creative endeavor, in his wife Hadley. Ernest Hemingway in love shows the many facets, shapes, textures, and strange necessity that we require love. And during a conversation with his friend, and memoirist, he says:
“You know what they say about love? Said its a state where we see things widely different from what they appear.”