Sunday, June 10, 2007

Who said it first?

I have enjoyed most of Hemingway's works and have been most fortunate to have fished and hunted in many of the exact locations as him. Considering how many years ago he took his safaris into Africa I find it almost unimaginable that I bagged Hemingway's most sought after prize of all... a record breaking Greater Kudu. Even by today's standards a record size Greater Kudu's horns would need to measure 55 inches but my Greater Kudu's horns measured 62 inches, one of the largest Greater Kudus taken in Africa in the last 45 years.

Without a doubt one of the greatest writers of all time, Hemingway 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 as 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 in it's self 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 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.

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