Last week I read page 650 – the final page of The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway – a book I was chipping away at for 3 years. A number of years ago I decided to try and stretch myself by reading different authors with different writing styles. I was intrigued by Hemingway’s stories which demonstrated his “Iceberg Theory” (sometimes referred to as the “Theory of Omission”): The idea that the facts float above water; the supporting structure and symbolism operate out of sight.” He said, “A few things I have found to be true. If you leave out important things or events that you know about, the story is strengthened. If you leave or skip something because you do not know it, the story will be worthless. The test of any story is how very good the stuff that you, not your editors, omit.” It was so interesting how his stories started the reader out in the middle of something. I found my imagination engaged and my mind wandering as I tried to piece together the back story. The other thing that struck me was the seeming hopelessness and underlying existentialism in his stories – the idea that life has no meaning except what the individual attributes to it.

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