Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hemingway and Frost and the Heat

I don’t know how Hemingway did it, writing all those years in the heat of Key West. His writing habit was to get up and start writing when it was still cool outside. He’d be in his writing room at 5:00 am and work until noon on the days he was writing something.

This heat wave is draining me. It’s tough to do anything. We do not hike, cannot really write much. We mostly sit around trying not to move too much, or go for rides in the car. For the first time since I’ve known Atticus he slept on the floor last night. Usually it’s the couch or the bed, but he obviously finds it cooler on the floor. But the little dog doesn’t have to worry too much as today is supposed to be the last brutal day of heat for a little while anyways.

But still, I don’t know how Hemingway did it, writing in the heat without air conditioning. It’s not yet seven am here in the mountains and already it’s uncomfortable. At least when Robert Frost wrote in Key West it was during the winter months. Key West was Frost’s home for twenty winters. Most people don’t know that. But he had a great little cottage he stayed in down there. It wasn’t as expansive as Hemingway’s place, but then neither was Frost’s Franconia home either. In their own ways their houses said much about the men’s lifestyles.

This morning, after I take Atticus for a walk down at the Flume, I’ll try to relate to those two great Key West writers while literally sweating at the key board. At least Frost and Hemingway had that great Key West breeze. Here, we’ll try to stay cool by taking several trips outside to sit by or in the Pemigewasset River.

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