I’m Taking Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’ on A Moveable Feast. Chapter by Chapter. 

Chapter 1 (of 20) A Good Café on the Place St-Michael 

A Moveable Feast Chapter One, A Good Café on the Place St-Michael, Accompanied by Cheese and Wine
A Moveable Feast Chapter One, A Good Café on the Place St-Michael, Accompanied by Cheese and Wine

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Ernest Hemingway.

I always have a book (or two) in my bag when I go walking.

I always like to find somewhere to stop and read awhile along my path.

One of the books that is currently in my bag is, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. 

I do some of my best thinking when I’m walking. It’s when I have some of my best ideas.

Yesterday, I had the idea to take Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast on A Moveable Feast. Chapter by Chapter.

The idea is simple. I’ll stop and read one chapter at a time over something to eat and drink.

I’ve added a little twist. It needs to be French cuisine. (I like a little twist).

Because, after all, Hemingway is sharing memories of his life as a writer living in Paris. He has created a wonderful setting that transports readers back in time to the Paris of the 1920s. 

A little French cuisine will serve to enhance the mood created by Hemingway. And add a little fun too. 

This brings me to:

Chapter 1 (of 20) A Good Café on the Place St-Michael accompanied by Saint Marcellin, Mountain Comté and *Moody’s Rosary Ash cheeses paired with a glass of Waitrose Provence Rosé (At Waitrose Wine Bar, Kings Cross, London).

Notes From Chapter 1: A Good Café on the Place St-Michael

A WorkLife Book Club For One

Notes about Writing

“The story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it. I ordered another rum St James.”

“Then I went back to writing and I entered far into the story and was lost in it. I was writing it now, and it was not writing itself and I did not look up nor know anything about the time nor think where I was nor order any more rum St James without thinking about it. Then the story was finished and I was very tired.”

“I asked the waiter for a dozen portugaises and a half-carafe of the dry white wine they had there. After writing a story I was always empty and both sad and happy, as though I had made love, and I was sure this was a very good story although I would not know truly how good until I read it over the next day.”

As a writer and learning practitioner, these words on the page spoke to me.

When crafting learning resources – stories, books and assignments, I have experienced the three stages Hemingway described 

  1. Getting into the story.
  2. Being so immersed in the story, I notice little else.
  3. The bittersweet feeling of both sadness and happiness when the story is complete.

I liked learning this about Hemingway.

I liked learning this about myself through Hemingway’s words.

This learning wasn’t new to me. But somehow, having what I already knew about myself and my way of working, reinforced through the short story Hemingway had shared about his experience, made it more meaningful.

I liked having that learning reinforced very much.

I also always know when I have written something good, but I, too, need a little space from it to know how good.

When setting out to write my first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and its accompanying workbook, Your WorkLife Your Way The Workbook, I established three criteria to guide me in knowing when I have written something good.

  1. It had to be helpful.
  2. It had to be insightful.
  3. It had to be inspiring.

This simple approach continues to guide the books and stories I write and the learning resources I create in knowing I have written something good.

This simple approach also enables me to look at my work objectively. 

Taking a little space from my writing also enables me to look at my work objectively.

However, unlike Hemingway, I was of the thinking that the measure of how good my work is, is for other people to decide, not me.

And I was OK with that because in following my three criteria, I knew I had put good work out into the world. And that, for me, was good enough.

Now, at the same time, I’m reading this chapter, I’m also re-reading historical stories I’ve shared on WorkLife Stories. 

These stories go back weeks, months, even years, and so I’ve had a lot, rather than a little space from them, to know how good they are. 

And they are good. 

On the one hand, It feels wrong or strange, or at least a little big-headed, to write that about my own work.

But, on the other hand, it feels right because I’m taking ownership of my work, and following my three criteria, I’m doing it objectively. 

Although I’m also doing it subjectively because it’s coming from a place of sensing or feeling.

And that’s what artistic creation is meant to be. So, I’m also OK with a subjective approach when considering whether my work is good.

That’s a shift in my approach or my way of thinking, or enlightenment brought about by Hemingway’s words and way of thinking. 

I really liked this new learning about myself and my work.

Epilogue

The Wine Bar at Waitrose, Kings Cross, London, was a favourite place for my dear friend Norma and me to meet. Sadly Norma passed away in December 2019. Yesterday was my first time being back there. Partly because of the pandemic, but also partly because it was our thing to do together. 

We talked about a lot of things, including discussing books over a glass and a plate. I used to think of it as our WorkLife Book Club For Two. Because just as I did yesterday, we made sense of what we read by connecting it to our experiences, both in and out of work.

Today, on reflection, I think yesterday was the beginning of a WorkLife Book Club For One – For/With Me, Myself and I. This realisation brings about the empty feeling that Hemingway described as being both sad and happy. 

Sad, because it won’t be the WorkLife Book Club For Two over a glass and plate that I had shared with Norma.

Happy because I can have an experience that I treasured in a different way. I can have a WorkLife Book Club For One over a glass and a plate. 

I know Norma will always be with me when I do, and I will raise a glass (or a cup) to our friendship. 

Se souvenir de toi, Norma.

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I’m Taking Time Out From WorkLife Publications I’m Feeling Burnt Out. I Need a Little Rest. I Need to Re-Energise and Re-Focus was the last post I shared. I had been writing non-stop for close to three years. Ten/Twelve/Fourteen hours a day. Six/Seven days a week. I hadn’t been taking care of myself, and my health and well-being suffered. I needed to take time out to rejuvenate. I also needed to re-focus my WorkLife to understand where I’m at and what’s next.

I made a commitment to myself to take better care of myself by devoting three hours of my day to my health and well-being. I’ve made it that those three hours need to be focused on doing things physically and mentally that bring me to life.

I started with walking every day for three hours. In time I may mix it up a little. Perhaps I’ll do something different in those three hours. But for now, I’m walking three hours every day.

Simply because I love walking, it’s a gentle exercise, and that’s important because of how I was pushing myself so hard. I needed to develop a practice that is kinder to/for me. 

Walking allows me to explore, to discover new places and re-discover old places. 

Walking allows me to think or not to think. At times when I’m walking, I think about what I need and want to think about. At other times I switch my mind off and think about nothing as I walk. 

I always have a book (or two) in my bag when I go walking.

I always like to find somewhere to stop and read awhile along my path.

Reading has always been my go-to place for learning. It helps me to understand what I need to do to self-direct my learning.

Self Directed Learning has always been my go-to approach for learning because it enables individualism from an independent mind, without intervening factors or intermediaries. 

Yesterday I had the idea to read the first chapter of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast over a glass and a plate. 

It wasn’t planned. It just happened spontaneously. 

That’s the wonderful thing about walking and thinking or not thinking. It allows me to go with the flow of whatever idea or thought that comes into my mind.

I think of it as the slow and gentle approach to figuring things out and getting things done.

Having pushed myself through a fast and hard approach to figuring things out and getting things done, I like the slow and gentle approach better.

So, that’s how I’m going to continue.

I’m going to walk and think, or switch my mind off and not think. I’m going to read and partake in my WorkLife Book Club For One to self-direct my learning. I’m going to process my thinking and learning through writing, as I’ve done with Notes From Chapter 1.

That’s important because, as Patrick Winston shared in his:

Words of Wisdom

“Your success in life will be determined largely by your ability to speak, your ability to write, and the quality of your ideas.”

For me, that’s all connected to self-directed learning. My preferred way of learning.

I’m not sure when I’ll read the next chapter of A Moveable Feast over a glass and a plate. 

It most likely will be another spontaneous happening. It may take a little planning to keep the French theme going, or, as with yesterday, it may not.

… Let’s see where A Moveable Feast is going to take me …

… … I can now share where Chapter 2 (of 20) Miss Stein Instructs took me …

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The cheese and wine were from King’s Cross Waitrose Wine Bar Platters Menu. 

*Moody’s Rosary Ash is an English cheese. The platter allows for a selection of three cheeses. There were only two French cheeses on the menu. And so I improvised. All three cheeses were excellent; it has to be said. 

#funfact1 located next to the canal; when eating al fresco at King’s Cross Waitrose, you can hear the jazz music playing on Word On The Water – The London Bookbarge.

You can stroll on there when you’ve finished to experience their wonderful collection of books. And if you want to take your walk further, you can stroll along Regent’s Canal – the charming waterway winding through King’s Cross. Walk the towpath, visit canalside Granary Square & Camley Street Natural Park. (Source King’s Cross – a great resource to keep up to date with what’s happening in the area and also to learn about its history)

#funfact2 There are regular jazz evenings in the wine bar, as well as wine tasting evenings. You can follow them on Instagram @ waitrose_kingscross to keep up with what’s happening at the wine bar and the store.

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School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning?

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may want to self-direct your learning by starting your WorkLife Book Club For One, For Two, or for more people. Guidelines for Starting and Running Your WorkLife Book Club will help you do that. 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Your WorkLife Your Way

How To Be Creative In Your Thinking

How To Self-Coach, Direct and Lead Effectively

You can view the complete collection here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning. 

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers), it helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of www.schoolofworklife.com My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.