Many books have been read in a bathroom, but few in one that opens its window to Hemingway's garden in Key West.
What exactly does inspiration mean? Going to the farthest geographical zone of your country - the Southernmost point - escaping from society, hanging out with wrecked fishermen and the mob, or going to that same place after it produced a famous author and the whole post-mortem circus that goes along?
One is left to wonder. No matter how cynical and tourist-unfriendly you assume to be, the mere fact that Hemingway has lived there - or attracted by "the life" he lived - makes you want to breathe more deeply, touch the land under your feet more soundly, and even pretend to befriend - even from a distance - the six toed cats. Yes, the cats are apparently more famous than "Papa" (his nickname) in Key West, or so it seems. This to show the vulgarization of anything remotely close to the concept of culture, alas at times defiantly shown without losing face. As you parade through the beautiful house where objects and furniture of bygone times are gathered, the clash with recent paintings, anything Hemingway as we shall say, appears to be a memorabilia of Elvis, only in its literary version. The guests more interested in taking pictures with the cats, or of anything, just about anything, give a sound laugh to the guide's jokes about Hemingway's many marriages, and walk up and down the stairs taking more pictures of pictures (this is particularly interesting).
The room, in which he wrote and had a direct pathway bridge to it from his bedroom when he lived there, is left alone without interest for those who luckily feel close to that lifestyle, to the dream of writing and only writing, to then spend the rest of the day drinking and messing around the island. You feel like whispering in the room: can I have this too Papa?
Looking down at the hopeless souls who just bought "The old man and the sea" from the gift shop to underline the fact that they visited Hemingway's house, only to fall asleep on the second page laying on the sandy beach, you desperately wonder if there is hope for humanity and literature.
If we imagine Key West like it used to be, then yes, we feel inspired. To find a Key West of our own, or even just a room.
Sleep at Andrews Inn - although not a first sell, it's a hidden jewel, the ones you can still find in the Keys. (if you are lucky your room will have a view into Hemingway's house)
Eat out at Blue Heaven - typical local food.
Watch the view from Louie's Place.
Don't go to the Dry Tortugas even if it's advertised everywhere.
Text by Acelya Yonac