What Would Hemingway Do?

“I think body and mind are closely coordinated. Fattening of the body can lead to fattening of the mind. I would be tempted to say that it can lead to fattening of the soul, but I don’t know anything about the soul.” ~ Ernest Hemingway in The Good Life, According to Hemingway.

In our recent travel to Key West, I was captivated by Ernest Hemingway’s estate, which my husband and I toured, drinking in the many pictures, artifacts and letters, endearing us to Hemingway’s chaotically adventuresome life.

We chose a casual, unguided tour, allowing us to privately imbibe the words and other visual stimuli, as we lingered, moving from one charming, old-style room to another. Each delightfully spare, tropical room met us with solid wood floors, quaint, uniquely carved furniture and vast windows that led from floor to ceiling, enhanced with fluttering, light curtains.

In reflecting upon our tour and subsequently reading a Hemingway book, cover to cover during our return flight home, I felt myself stretching and growing as a woman, as a wife, as a business owner and as a career advisor. For example.

  • I truly believe that mind and body are connected, and thus with the softening of either, there is an often gentle, sometimes dramatic rippling effect that occurs, impacting every aspect of our lives, both personally and professionally. I encourage job seekers to reflect on their day to day activity (or inactivity) that may be impacting, positively or negatively, their productivity and overall quality of life.
  • What can you do, today, to strengthen your physical self in a way that will shore up your mental self?
  • What can you do tomorrow? What fat-reducing and energy boosting activities can you integrate into your life on a daily, even hourly basis? Is it simply removing yourself from your chair to take a 30-minute brisk walk or to take a tour of your household chores, energetically, briskly, while breathing hard and perhaps sweating just a bit?
  • Or perhaps it’s more than that:  join a gym, making a pact with your spouse, your friend, an accountability partner that you will shed a certain amount of  weight, adopt a fitter diet and exercise routine; buy a bicycle and ride it daily; perhaps it’s that you will cease smoking or reduce your drinking … or, you get the drift. What will help you win the war against lethargy?
  • What can you do in-the-moment, every moment, to improve your vitality and convert calories to energy? What can you change up in your manner of operating, writing, communicating, speaking, acting that may seem awkward, hard and unnatural at first, but which may actually move you more meaningfully toward your deeply desired goals?

In Hemingway’s words:

I like to write standing up to reduce the old belly and because you have more vitality on your feet. Who ever went ten rounds sitting on his ass? I write description in longhand because that’s hardest for me and you’re closer to the paper when you work by hand, but I use the typewriter for dialogue because people speak like a typewriter works.

  • I loved this line, as I’ve actually tried ‘standing while writing’ before, and more recently, have spent an exhorbitant number of hours just sitting. I think it’s time to stand again!
  • Not only will it burn more calories, but the idea of improved vigor is reverberating … improved mental capacity, improved ability to manage difficulties that erupt, improved muscle strength in my legs and my buttox! I must not only hope, I must aspire to make it happen!

After all, we are the only ones who control what WE are doing with our bodies, our fingers, our toes, our eyes, each breath we take, each drink we imbibe, each food calorie we ingest.  Starting now, this moment, this next breath, make that commitment to yourself and to your career that you will invest the energy in both mind and body to infuse energy, enthusiasm, hope, health, and ultimately generate the success results you deserve!

Explore posts in the same categories: Career Encouragement, Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, job search

24 Comments on “What Would Hemingway Do?”

  1. Robert Says:

    Excellent post sweetheart. I feel more inspired already.

  2. careertrend Says:

    Nice! Thanks honey! … and for the editing tips, too!

    Love, Jacqui

  3. Dawn Lennon Says:

    Welcome home, Jacqui. I am green with envy that you were able to visit Hemingway’s estate. I wrote my thesis on Hemingway and Joyce, but my heart has always been with Hemingway. I love his economy of words and ability to create so much reader experience with so little.

    I love your message here about protecting the source of our energy and vitality by living a healthy and active life. I agree that,for us,less drink than EH consumed, healthy food, and rigorous activity is the recipe for better living and a successful career.

    Pilates was my greatest discovery to this end and has done for me exactly what you propose: connected body, mind, and spirit for good purpose. Thanks for this wonderful reconnection with the Keys and Hemingway. Reading your post was just the lift I needed on this very dreary day in the east!

    Great to have you back.


    • careertrend Says:

      Oh, how interesting that you wrote your thesis on Hemingway and Joyce — I would love to pick your brain sometime regarding your learnings and insights, particularly about EH!

      Your mention of Pilates also piques my interest, as I have not yet discovered Pilates — you’ve helpfully connected the dots for me (Pilates + body/mind/spirit).

      Thanks again for your eloquent insights and your kind ‘welcome back’ message.


  4. What an eloquent post Jacqui!

    Not only am I motivated to write standing up, your advice to career seekers is truly inspiring.

    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful experience and guidance with us. As always you create incredible value with your words 🙂


    • careertrend Says:

      NICE! Thank you, Charee! Your warm words are welcomed!

      And, here’s to ‘writing standing up’ – may we reap the physical and mental benefits of this unusual writing stance!


  5. Rosa Vargas Says:

    I LOVE this post, Jacqui. I truly enjoy your writing style; it is like slowly enjoying a glass of Cabernet, Merlot, oh perhaps a Chardonnay!? Hmm… will get back to you on that.

    One of my favorite post indeed. It stirred my soul and made me want to get up on my feet and walk my way to the Keys! (Although from Colorado, I may not be back in time to finish my work. LOL!) Thanks for this post. So lovely…Keep up the enjoyable writing…

    “The greatest writers have the gift of brevity, are hard workers, diligent scholars and competent stylists(Magill 1287).”

    • careertrend Says:

      Mmmm, Rosa, you had me with “Cabernet.” I LOVE the analogy and accept it as a huge compliment. As a fellow wine enthusiast, I am now thirsting for the slow-enjoyment of a glass 🙂

      What a wonderful quote you provided from Magill – very compelling!

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed this post and let me know your thoughts. Writing, shared with others, is such a gratifying feeling.


  6. This is a most dreamy post. It’s fabulous you enjoyed a break in the Keys = well-deserved my friend.

    I wish to get back into Pilates. Will you be my accountability partner? 🙂


    • careertrend Says:

      A ‘dreamy post’!! Awww, I like that!

      Many thanks, my dear Twitter friend (online and off), for popping in with a sweet comment.

      And yes, would love to be your accountability partner! Let’s ‘do it!’


  7. I’ve always loved Hemingway’s writing and disliked his life. But reading this, you’ve shown me, yet again in your own writing, how there’s more to any one thing than meets the eye. There’s so much to learn if just let ourselves be open to it. It’s always a pleasure to read what you say and how you say it. Rosalind

    • careertrend Says:

      Thanks Rosalind! It’s been years since I’ve read Hemingway, so this process has been a rediscovery for me. Unearthing a bit more about his ‘life’ and inner-mind-workings has been interesting, engaging me to dig just a little deeper with each new passage.

      Glad you enjoyed this ‘read.’ Thanks for taking time to comment.


  8. Susan Young Says:

    Excellent insights. My favorite line “Whoever went 10 rounds sitting on his ass?” Amen.
    Thanks for sharing,

  9. Right on, Jacqui. We are a symphonic collaboration with ourselves, and our own shortsightedness to not care for body, mind and soul only kills the music, much as it did to Hemingway in the end.

  10. careertrend Says:

    “A symphonic collaboration with ourselves” < — NICE! It's so easy to become shortsighted that I'm constantly reminding myself to remain in key, playing the right notes to conduct a more harmonic lifestyle.

    Thanks for your insight, Kevin!


  11. Great post, Jacqui! I’ll have to find that book. I love how he writes. Last year I read The Sun Also Rises. I read a TON as a kid, but not everything, so once a year I read a classic.

    I think the mind/body connection is stronger than most people understand. I feel my best when I do something for myself, like Pilates. And speaking of which, I better run! Class is in a half hour! 🙂

    • careertrend Says:


      Reading a classic each year is quite a feat! I may want to adapt your discipline.

      As well, glad to hear your thoughts on the mind/body connection, and interesting to learn of another friend who does Pilates. I just may have to invest myself in learning that form of fitness one of these days.

      Thanks for peeking into my blog – am flattered!


  12. […] Career Trend’s Blog Your Value Into Words « What Would Hemingway Do? […]

  13. Jacqui, I love how you addressed resume writing and job seeking from a wholistic perspective. This is a topic I haven’t seen addressed before, and certainly not addressed as eloquently as you have here. Every part of us works together to influence the function of our other parts. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Thanks so much for the great post Jacqui!

    • careertrend Says:

      Thank you, Alicia! The ‘wholistic perspective’ – I like that, and wasn’t even thinking along those lines when emoting over the influence of my Hemingway estate visit.

      Your insights always are appreciated!


  14. […] steps that involve increased daily movement, an improved diet and a changed, overall lifestyle. I blogged about my aha moments earlier this week, here. * After all, I’m not 25 anymore, my body is older, my responsibilities are greater and my […]

  15. Mary Wilson Says:

    Jacqui, I just found this post and love it. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit Key West, but, like Dawn, wrote my thesis on Hemingway (not Joyce). In fact, she and I discovered that we had the same thesis advisor. Your post evoked wonderful pictures of EH–and you–writing standing up. I must try that.

  16. careertrend Says:

    Oh Mary, what kind words – thank you!

    And, that’s so intriguing that both you and Dawn Lennon wrote your theses on Hemingway! My learnings, compared to yours, are so minimal; I definitely was entranced being surrounded by his writings, letters, and domestic furnishings.

    Did you know, Hemingway had the first residential swimming pool in KW, supplied with salt-water?

    So many interesting details and nuances!


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