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by Craig Stark

#78, 2 October 2006

There are people who write and people who happen to write, and, though both may produce great books, they are distinctly different animals. Ernest Hemingway, for example, was a man who wrote - somebody you could call a writer first and last. It was his primary purpose in life to write, and it can be argued that everything he did in lieu of writing served to fuel his work - yes, even drinking and philandering. Hemingway's "Lost Generation" contemporary Louis Bromfield, on the other hand, was a man who happened to write. Like Thoreau, whom he is often compared to, his purpose in life was to do larger things, and writing was simply a means to this end.

As a result, today we recall Hemingway's life largely as a journey to destruction, certainly nothing to be emulated, let alone anything we can derive significant benefit from; we recall Bromfield's life much differently, more as a trip to Bountiful that even his death couldn't end, and many still derive meaning from it. Media Editor Catherine Petruccione recently visited Bromfield's Malabar Farm in Lucas, Ohio, and today's BookThinker is a passionate tribute to a great man - who happened to write.

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