The lack of him had moved in with me

Word count: 237 words

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

A great way to improve your writing skills is to emulate the work of others. Here is a sentence I read recently that I’d happily imitate.  

I’ve never been a huge fan of Ernest Hemingway. Perhaps that’s why it took me longer than I’d intended to read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. How I wish I’d read it sooner!

A beautifully crafted biography, masquerading as a novel, it tells the story of Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson (pictured above, with Hemingway in 1920.) The book has sparked my interest in all things Hemingway and has made me promise to read A Moveable Feast before the summer is done. (I’m writing that here to make my commitment public!)

Hadley is such an interesting character and her husband, so tragic. I hadn’t been aware of the thread of suicide that bound his life. And it seems apparent that he still loved his first wife, even after their divorce. He married a total of four women before he killed himself, with a shotgun, in 1961.

The Paris Wife has also given me my sentence of the week:  “I don’t know how to describe it, but after the blush of my own company wore off, I became so aware of Ernest’s absence it was as if the lack of him had moved into the apartment with me.”

I like her use of the word “blush” in such an unusual way. Interesting, isn’t it, how it suggests both embarrassment and delight? But I particularly love her personification of the word “absence” which makes the sentence so visual and so achingly sad.