Sunday, June 10, 2007
I did not want to die and discover that I had never really lived
Hemingway was of course a man that loved adventure in the truest sense of the word. I have been most fortunate to have fished and hunted on safari in many of the exact locals as he. Considering he took his long African safaris so many years ago it is remarkably unbelievable to me that I was able to accomplish something that he sought for so many years. One of Hemingway's most sought after trophies was a large Greater Kudu something that he wrote of in depth in "Green Hills of Africa". While a record book sized Greater Kudu would require his magnificent spiral horns to be at least 55 inches long that was the largest that Hemingway was ever able to take. I was very fortunate to have taken one of Africa's largest Greater Kudu taken in the last 45 years with horns measuring an amazing 62 inches. What a magnificent old bull he was indeed.
Without any doubt Hemingway was one of the greatest men that ever held a pen and he wrote, "Writers are the biggest damn thieves in the world." And if you keep your eyes open you can notice it more and more often. Case and example... In an interview I did while in Africa someone asked me my favorite African quote. I said "That's simple. It was made by Hemingway and he has used it often. He said, "I went to Africa because I did not want to die and discover that I had never really lived."
Since that day I loved that quote so much in fact that I often used it being sure to give proper credit for it as something Hemingway said. But one evening I was the guest speaker and there was a question/answer session where people in the auditorium would ask me questions. There was a well read gentleman who introduced himself and pointed out he was a professor from Stanford. He asked me if I knew where Hemingway had taken his quote from. I was taken back with surprise and asked him if he knew something I did not, which got a pretty good chuckle considering he was a professor and all. He suggested I should read Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond where Thoreau said, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." Then he suggested I look up Thoreau's date if birth and then ask myself, Is it just a coincidence?"
While I agree with you that often we laugh when we tell each other we think so much alike, but with this example, I have no doubt in my mind that Hemingway liked it and used it.