In DC we went to an atheists rally, but I am not an atheist. It was the biggest atheist rally in history, or something like that. The periphery was lined with people wanting to save our souls, which is something I never understand. I went with Chuck and Maggie. Two atheists whose souls no one should ever worry about.
Afterwards, we went to the National Gallery of Art and looked at paintings by Cassatt, Monet, Manet, Degas, Matisse, Renoir, and Cézanne . In his essay “Impressions of Ernest Hemingway,” Paul Smith says that from Cézanne, Hemingway learned to write sentences that “end just short of verbal or discursive meaning.” Hemingway himself says, “I was learning something from the paintings of Cézanne that made writing simple true sentences far from enough to make the stories have the dimensions that I was trying to put in them. I was learning very much from him but I was not articulate enough to explain it to anyone. Besides it was a secret.” From Cézanne Hemingway saw that what we leave out is as important as what we put in. I used to disparage Hemingway but that’s when I was an ideologue. That’s when I thought I knew so much. When I was like the people on the periphery holding signs warning us about hell.