Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Matisse Walk Into a Bar…

Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald in Paris, 1920’s.
Photo Credit: Public Domain

Actually, it is a Paris café serving beer, coffee, delicacies and solid hot meals. Hemingway grabs a beer and heads for his favorite table at the edge of the crowd. The Fitzgerald’s wave and beeline toward him from across the room – Scott is affable, he thinks, but he can already tell Zelda is in one of her dark moods. He sits. Downs the beer. Waves for the waiter to bring another one. Scott and Zelda land on the chairs beside him within seconds. Matisse steps around the corner, shuffles down the Montparnasse and raises his cane in greeting.

An hour later, they are laughing and drinking, discussing the politics of the day, the latest literary achievements of their fellows, and dreaming of a “next” none of them can rightly define. Their individual genius, heartbreaks and confusions, flow and ebb through the conversation. The sun sets and a warm summer evening in the 1920’s turns to night and falls into the past. The greatest creative minds of the time sit and talk outside the Paris Closerie des Lilas café.

The café flows with people, life experiences, shared conversations…

The Closerie des Lilas cafe, Paris 1920’s.
Photo Credit: Public Domain

Then as I was getting up to the Closerie des Lilas with the light on my old friend, the statue of Marshal Ney with his sword out and the shadows of the trees on the bronze, and he alone there and nobody behind him and what a fiasco he’d made of Waterloo, I thought that all generations were lost by something and always had been and always would be and I stopped at the Lilas to keep the statue company and drank a cold beer before going home to the flat over the sawmill.

~Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (1964)

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