Robert Wheeler's Blog: Robert Wheeler's Blog

August 18, 2015

The soul of Ernest Hemingway is most certainly alive throughout the streets and along the Malecon and in the music and the sea air, and within the hearts of the people, of Havana. For thirty-seven days, I searched and found those lovely spaces between the iconic places that stake claim to Hemingway. And those spaces are filled with inspiration and beauty and intrigue. This is what will fill the pages of my next book, due for release in the spring of 2016, Hemingway’s Havana: A Writer’s City In Words And Images.

Currently, I am sifting through my nearly 4,000 images, and pruning the prose I wrote along the way. When I do look up, I am fascinated, too, by the current news regarding the US and Cuba…I was there in Havana, in a small bar with a small television set at 10:36AM on July 20th, when the Cuban flag was raised in Washington D.C., and the experience was emotional for all who stood near me. Cubans were teary eyed and shook hands and slapped backs…all talked of the promise for a brighter future. This is a fascinating and joyous time for Cubans and for Americans, and a perfect time to experience it all though the most beloved American who ever lived and worked in Havana, Ernest Hemingway.

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Published on August 18, 2015 13:59 • 445 views • Tags: cuba, ernest-hemingway, hemingway, paris

July 1, 2015

Hemingway's Paris: A Writer's City in Words and ImagesAlthough Paris is still in my heart, my eyes are now set on Havana. On July 3, I leave for Cuba, staying in a quaint and lovely Casa Particular in the Vedado district of La Habana for six weeks. When I return, I will have the first draft and all photographs for Hemingway’s Cuba: A Writer’s Island In Words And Images.

As I prepare to leave, I feel anxious and excited and hopeful and doubtful and everything in-between. But I know that with my hand sincerely extended, and with a humble and appreciative smile and disposition, I will connect beautifully to that same sense of community that Hemingway so admired and embraced. I have wonderful connections, I have my Leica camera, I have notebooks and pens, I have a strong work ethic, and I have the support of my family and friends…now I must simply open myself up to the Cuban people and to their lovely and alluring country.

Please…enjoy and bask in the light that is already Hemingway’s Paris: A Writer’s City In Word And Images, and get ready for what will be a new and colorful experience, Hemingway’s Cuba: A Writer’s Island In Words And Images…coming Spring of 2016.
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Published on July 01, 2015 14:31 • 209 views • Tags: cuba, ernest-hemingway, hemingway, paris

March 29, 2015


Very many people think I am going to speak to Hemingway the drinker or Hemingway the fighter or Hemingway the womanizer or Hemingway the hunter when they ask why I have taken to Ernest Hemingway for so many years.

They are mistaken.

I always seem to stand back a bit on my heels and say that, no...those attributes are not what drew me to Hemingway. Instead, it was, and it remains, Hemingway's connection to, and his consideration of, his prose...his art...his craft.

I love that Hemingway takes me away to distant places...I love that he uses foreign words in his sentence structures...I love that he is always trying to reach the essence of relationships...I love his dialogue and that he uses colors in his compositions...and I love that he writes, with honesty, about the good and the ugly aspects of life and of love.

I have studied the work and life of Hemingway since 1986. And I have let go of practically everything...everything but his art. Because, in the end, and for me, it is his art and his truth that matters. And this...this focus is what makes me want to dive even deeper for many, many years to come.

Hemingway's Paris: A Writer's City in Words and Images
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Published on March 29, 2015 13:16 • 123 views • Tags: hemingway, paris, photography, travel, writing
The other night, I woke up at 2AM thinking about the prose I write...the words I carefully arrange on the page.

I thought of each of my words as flowers, as each one has its own scent and look and feel. And I began to see the page as a glass vase...a lovely crystal glass vase where each word, or flower, is purposefully placed. Together, if arranged perfectly, the piece I write is as lovely and alluring as are the most brilliant of flower arrangements.

It was at 2AM when I both celebrated the lyrical paragraphs that appear in my book, Hemingway's Paris: A Writer's City In Words And Images, and when I decided, convincingly, that I would never, ever, carelessly toss my flowers on the ground or quickly throw them into anything but the most beautiful of crystal vases. Hemingway's Paris: A Writer's City in Words and Images
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Published on March 29, 2015 12:16 • 355 views • Tags: hemingway, paris, photography, travel, writing
The following article originally appeared on The Huffington Post Arts & Culture section. The direct original link is: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/j-micha...

Robert Wheeler picked up his first book by Ernest Hemingway in 1986. On the first page of the posthumously published novel, The Garden of Eden, the author vividly described a young couple madly in love. Hemingway used color, movement and a foreign language to bring his characters and his composition to life.

"I thought: 'I do not want this to end,'" Wheeler says.

It hasn't. Not for him, anyway.

Wheeler spent a winter four years ago in Paris, retracing Hemingway's time there in the early 1920s. He took a camera. And now he's publishing a book, due out April 7.

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Hemingway's Paris, by Robert Wheeler

"It's a new perspective -- a visual representation of his memoir, A Moveable Feast," he says. "It's about his years as a budding modernist and a new husband and father in Paris."

Alone and melancholy, Wheeler began to see the city in a new way. He roamed the streets that architect Georges-Eugène Haussman redesigned in the mid-19th century for Napoleon III. And he took some very engaging photographs.

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Hemingway's Paris, by Robert Wheeler

"I looked at the city differently, thinking: 'This must be how Hadley felt when Hemingway broke her heart," he says. "Or, what would Hemingway feel when saw this image or this church? What was he feeling when saw the River Seine?"

He got home to New Hampshire, looked at the images he'd taken, and realized he'd created something new. "I saw it all," he says. "It's a frame of mind -- you're seeing with different eyes."

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Hemingway's Paris, by Robert Wheeler

Wheeler has paired up more than 90 black and white images with brief accompanying narrative, seeking to evoke the emotions that the American author felt during his time in the City of Light.

"The most sentimental time of his life, he spent in Paris in his formative years," he says."His most beautiful writing was done there -- he was part of a movement trying to make everything new, a part of the Left Bank philosophy."

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Hemingway's Paris, by Robert Wheeler

Countless writers have channeled Hemingway in the years since The Sun Also Rises first appeared, not many of them successfully. Hemingway's Paris also aspires to achieve the master's legendary fourth, or even fifth, dimension -- not with prose alone, but with images too, working hand-in-glove.

Is it ambitious? Yes.

Does it work? Absolutely.

For more information, go to http://www.hemingways-paris.com/home

J. Michael Welton writes about architecture, art and design for national and international publications. He also edits and publishes a digital design magazine atwww.architectsandartisans.com, where portions of this post first appeared. His book on architects who draw freehand, "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand," is due out from Routledge Press this spring.

Follow J. Michael Welton on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mikewelton
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