Hemingway, Ernest. The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. New York: Simon and Shuster, Inc., 2002. Print.
To learn a skill, it is good advice to study the masters. Hemingway is truly a master of the short story. His style is distinctly his own, yet, his subject matter is wide. In Hemingway’s stories, we travel from Kilimanjaro to Spain to the States. Yet, in each, we are given truth. Hemingway is quoted as saying that as we start writing, we must do one thing: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” This is a collection of true sentences. I find myself approaching Hemingway’s stories from two motivations. First, I read them just for the joy of the stories and the words and the mood they put me in. Out of this motivation, I often read his works aloud. His stories have all the hallmarks of great poetry as well. Second, I read them often as a sourcebook. When wondering how to approach a subject, I flip through his pages asking, “How did Hemingway handle that?” It’s foolish to assume that I can imitate him, but, I do it for the grounding and simplification it provides. My answer to a writing problem is often to pile word upon word. Hemingway’s sobering voice reminds me that the greatest effect occurs with the fewest words.