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The pitch – take two

October 1, 2009

Ernest Hemingway, Clara Spiegel, and Gary Cooper, Silver Creek, Idaho, January 1959. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

I made my second Hemingway pitch yesterday. The first pitch was a strike. I thought it was a perfect fit for Hemispheres magazine. They thought otherwise.

My second pitch was a ball. I pitched to Sun Valley magazine. It’s a more regional magazine than I was hoping for, but I thought they would grant me more space than a bigger magazine. I think I was right, but their publication schedule is, well, glacial. It’s probably slated for next fall. And covering my expenses? Doubtful.

Ernest Hemingway lived in and explored some of the most exotic places in the world. He spent his youth in Paris cafes. He watched bullfights in Spain. He hunted big game in Kenya. He sport-fished off the coast of his home in Key West, Fla., and sipped mojitos at his home near Havana, Cuba.

It was Ketchum, Idaho, though, where Hemingway made his final home. As a younger man, he helped give Sun Valley star power. As an older Papa, he enjoyed duck hunting with Gary Cooper and the simple pleasures of what was then still an off-the-beaten-path burg.

Understanding Ketchum is key to understanding Hemingway. It was here where he penned much of his Paris memoir, A Moveable Feast, and it was here where he turned his hunting shotgun on himself and ended his life.

Understanding Hemingway is important to understanding Ketchum, too. As with most of the places he called home, Hemingway left his mark on the town, and despite himself, he was part of its transition from sleepy hamlet to outpost of the rich and famous.

I would like to write a feature for Sun Valley magazine exploring Hemingway’s Ketchum and his legacy here. This would be less a piece about Hemingway the man than an examination of how Ketchum has changed, viewed through the prism of one of its most iconic residents.

How about spring? Could we do spring?