Scribner saw Hemingway's talent for invention as a great strength. Hemingway did not just report experiences, he used them, built on them. In the 1929 novel, A Farewell to Arms, Lt. Frederic Henry is wounded, hospitalized, and falls in love with Catherine Barkley. "Miss Barkley was quite tall. She wore what seemed to me to be a nurse's uniform, was blonde and had a tawny skin and gray eyes. I thought she was very beautiful." (21) But Hemingway took the characters further than his World War I experience--through a love affair, war scenes, a dramatic escape, and the final scenes of childbirth. These were invented from his later experiences. He was great at putting things together. He made up whatever was needed to suit his artistic purposes. If actual events worked, he stuck closely to actual events. He rarely created "events or characters for which he could not draw upon a reservoir of actual perceptions." (22)

Hemingway wrote Agnes daily, and her letters to "Dear Kid," "My dear Boy", "Ernie, my Boy," and "Kid, Dearest" (23) arrived regularly, though not as frequently. But her March 7, 1919, letter to "Ernie, dear boy," which "I am afraid is going to hurt you," concluded that "I am now & always will be too old [seven years older] . . . & I can't get away from that fact that you're just a boy--a kid . . . . I expect to be married soon. And I hope & pray that after you have thought things out, you'll be able to forgive me & start a wonderful career & show what a man you really are." (24)

Hemingway was crushed and bitter. Not sure what would come next, dividing his time between Michigan and Oak Park, he wrote, enjoyed being with his friends, sold some pieces to the Toronto Star, and thoroughly alienated his mother with his exuberant lifestyle and seeming lack of direction. Moving to Chicago with a friend and hanging out with other aspiring writers, he was determined to succeed as a writer. The Toronto Star work increased, and he eventually worked for the monthly magazine Cooperative Commonweal. Through his literary friends, he met and fell in love with another tall, lovely young woman, Hadley Richardson. She was eight years older than Hemingway and was from St. Louis. Hadley returned to St. Louis, but they wrote daily, sometimes twice a day, and the romance blossomed thanks to occasional visits and excellent mail service. Most of her letters have survived, and some of Hemingway's have, and their son Jack has donated them to the Hemingway Collection. (25)

They decided to marry in September 1921 in Michigan, and Hemingway made more of his habitual lists of arrangements to make, expenses and income, and which of his friends from Illinois, Toronto, and Italy to invite, including writer Sherwood Anderson and "Miss Agnes von Kurowsky of Washington, D.C.," (26) who had not married after all.

Returning from Paris, Sherwood Anderson reported it was cheap to live there, it was the place for serious writers, (27) and everyone was there. With income from Hadley's trust fund, an agreement for Hemingway to write a series of European pieces for the Toronto Star, and letters of introduction from Anderson to the famous expatriates he had met, the couple moved to the Paris of writers F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ford Maddox Ford, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound, Hemingway was twenty-two, unpublished, and very eager.