Looking Through the Door into the Hemingway Barn-Studio

Freeda Baker Nichols at Hemingway's Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

Freeda Baker Nichols at Hemingway’s Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

From My Notes:

At the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, I put my pen to  paper to write and I look around, thinking, “Hemingway was actually here in this barn-studio, in this house, on these grounds.”  I’m impressed and excited when I think of that.  After all, he received the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.  And I love his story, “The Old Man and the Sea.”  If only I could write like him.

In June of 2007, I attended my second Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas and signed up for the next one.  Because writing is a lonely job, it’s encouraging to gather with other writers.  The Retreat inspires writers to reach toward goals at their own pace, in their own way.  I always leave eager to create new stories as well as finish my stories-in-progress,

At one of the retreats, I set my goal to finish my first novel at the end of 2010, but it was one year later that I completed “The Call of the Cadron,” a 200-page fiction, set in Arkansas. In May, 2012, I had a printed copy in my hand. My self-publishing experience has been both rewarding and successful.

In November 2012, the staff at the Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas hosted a book signing for me, along with two other authors, Donna Austin and Jo McDougall.

This year of 2013 is the first time  in seven years I’ve missed attending the Writers’ Retreat in Piggott. Sometimes other things become my priority, but writing is my destiny and always on my mind and in my heart.  The poem below is one I wrote at the Retreat and it was published in the Retreat’s brochure.


Although I try, how can I write like him,
a writer honored with the Nobel Prize?
I watch the robins light on dogwood limb
and hear the sorrow in their constant cries.
Have they descended from red-breasted birds
that looked for worms in cool of early dawn
and sang contented songs with smoothest words
when Hemingway once strolled across the lawn?

Today, I write from break of day to dark,
not far from Ernest’s barn loft studio,
beside an oak where lightning cracked tough bark.
Goodbye, great oak.  How sad you have to go!
If I create one sentence that is true,
might I be worthy of the Nobel, too?

© 2006, Freeda Baker Nichols

Freeda Baker Nichols at her book signing at Hemingway Writers' Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas

Freeda Baker Nichols at her book signing at Hemingway Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas

Cat and kittens at Hemingway's Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

Cat and kittens at Hemingway’s Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

23 comments on “Looking Through the Door into the Hemingway Barn-Studio

  1. […] Looking Through the Door into the Hemingway Barn-Studio (freedanichols.wordpress.com) […]


  2. […] Looking Through the Door into the Hemingway Barn-Studio (freedanichols.wordpress.com) […]


  3. Catherine Johnson says:

    Beautiful sonnet Freeda and how wonderful to be where Hemmingway was. Sorry about your retreat. We’ll have to motivate you some way. I love Call of the Cadron.


  4. Gayle says:

    Freeda, I didn’t have any trouble with that click thing.  When I clicked DJ’s name, inyour reply, it went straight to her blog.  Maybe it’s because it’s DJ’s own blog that she can’t get it to work.  Have no answers!   I’ve actually got issues with ‘replies’…when I try them on my site, they don’t stack, indented, like they do on your site.  They just show up like additional comments, so  sopmetimes they don’t make sense when they aren’t following a thread. It’s something I’m working on!    I guess each of the templates on WP have their own quirks, and we have to figure them out. sigh.  



    • Gayle, thanks. I think you may be right because it shows up for me, too. Are you on WordPress? To make my replies I go to Comments on my list at the left that begins with Dashboard, Posts, etc. There, I can approve the comment, and also reply. When I reply there, the answer goes below the corresponding comment. I was very happy to learn that!


  5. What a beautiful photo of you…I believe it shows that you were in your “glory’ as they say…Keep writing…and I know you will…once started it’s so hard to stop!


  6. dotlatjohn says:

    I love thoughts on HP and the poem. Since HP is where we met, you know that it has been a place of inspiration and friendship for me, too. Both have impacted my life in important ways.


  7. I adore that place. How is it that we’ve never met there?


    • It’s a great place for writers! When was your first visit there? Perhaps you attended a summer session in the years I attended in the fall. My husband and I always stayed at the Downtown Inn. He loves the little town of Piggott, and the Inn was so comfortable and unique. Always a treat to be there. And such a pleasure to meet and make friends among the writers.


  8. Dot says:

    Very true, Freeda. HP Retreat is indeed an inspiring time and I think time spent there has sent many writers searching for their one true sentence.


    • 🙂 I’s a place that encouraged me to reach out and take hold of my dream to write, and do something with it, like publish my first novel. And then, there’s our own little critique group, CAW, where you, Dot, and the others have made sure I kept up my pace. I can’t thank all my writer friends enough for their support in my writing life.


  9. I’m sorry you won’t get to be there this year. We might never live up to the masters, but they give us a goal to aim for.


    • I don’t even like all of Hemingway’s work that I’ve read, but he sure can get a reader’s attention. I loved “The Old Man and the Sea,” which I read and studied in an English class at San Antonio College.


Your comment shines like a star above Banner Mountain

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s