Hemingway's assignments for the Toronto Star (28) took him around Europe, and wherever he went, he took notes for his journalistic efforts and for his fiction, In Scribner's opinion, Hemingway was "one of the most perceptive travelers in the history of literature." (29) He covered politics ("Mussolini, Europe's Prize Bluffer, More Like Bottomley"), conferences ("Genoa Conference; Picked Sharpshooters Patrol Genoa Streets"), fishing everywhere ("Tuna Fishing in Spain," ("Fishing the Rhone Canal," and "Trout Fishing All Across Europe: Spain Has the Best, Then Germany"), Paris ("Living on $1,000 A Year in Paris," "Paris is Full of Russians," and "Wives Buy Clothes for French Husbands"); and sports ("Try Bobsledding If You Want Thrills," "Pamplona in July; World's Series of Bull Fighting a Mad, Whirling Carnival"). (30) Hemingway was way "ahead of his compatriots in discovering places and pleasures that would become tourist attractions." (31)
While reporting on the war between Greece and Turkey in Constantinople and witnessing the evacuation of the Greeks from eastern Thrace ("A Silent, Ghastly Procession Wends Way from Thrace"), he wrote in his pocket account book his impressions and what he paid for wine, meals, taxis, and cabling stories. "Thrace a barren difficult plateau--scrub oak--Greek soldiers 'sheik' hats, weather beaten faces but looking like Austrians. 12 camels led by one man or a donkey long necks but lurching and rolling along" (32) became raw material for the dramatic scene in one of his innovative mini chapters between the stories in In Our Time (1925): "Minarets stuck up in the rain across the mud flats. The carts were jammed for thirty miles. Water buffalo and cattle were hauling carts through the mud. There was no end and no beginning. Just carts loaded with everything they owned. The old men and women, soaked through . . . . Carts were jammed solid on the bridge with camels bobbing along through them. Greek cavalry herded along the procession . . . . There was a woman having a baby with a young girl holding a blanket over her and crying. Scared sick looking at it. It rained all through the evacuation." (33)
There are three pieces to the puzzle that is this person we know as Hemingway: the life the man really lived, his writing, and the celebrity. One has to guess where one piece ends and another begins. Could Hemingway himself distinguish between the fact, the fiction, and the celebrity? As the consummate storyteller, he may not have cared which was which. But he left such a generous record of all three that biographers, literary critics, and the general public can endlessly reconfigure the puzzle--sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Who is to say which pattern is right? Sometimes confusion results--as when a television documentary has Hemingway the man speaking dialogue that Hemingway the author wrote for his fictional characters. The guessing will continue, and Hemingway himself constantly mixed up the strands for us. After being bothered by another aspiring writer while trying to write in a cafe, Hemingway decided "to give the [cafe] a day's rest. So the next morning I woke early, boiled the rubber nipples and the bottles, made the formula, finished the bottling, gave Mr. Bumby a bottle and worked on the dining-room table before anyone else but he, F. Puss the cat, and I were awake. The two of them were quiet and good company and I worked better than I had ever done." (34) This is Hemingway as caring father and aspiring writer, but from the perspective of his last years. Is it fact, fiction, or a bit of both?
Hemingway decided to take the plunge and quit writing for the Star so that he could work on his fiction full time. "But when you are poor, and we were really poor when I had given up all journalism when we came back from Canada [after Bumby was bom there in October 1923], and could sell no stories at all, it was too rough with a baby in Paris in the winter. (35) I knew the stories [I had been writing] were good and someone would publish them finally at home. When I stopped doing newspaper work I was sure the stories were going to be published. But every one I sent out came back." (36)