BIG : The Immortals


I am currently the Editorial Director of Big magazine, a bi-monthly book that brings to life museum-quality content executed by a global collective. The magazine’s unique position in the world of publishing stems from its collaboration with some of the foremost creative talent to produce powerful images and texts surrounding a single theme, or place. In existence since 1982, Big has garnered multiple design and photography awards. In 2010, I began closely collaborating with Big’s Founder and Creative Director, Marcelo Junemann, to relaunch both our print and digital platforms in conjunction with the design studio We Are Plus. That includes the magazine, an App series, and Big Report, an original weekly digital platform featuring content that draws from the same DNA as Big magazine.

“The Immortals”

Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. I should begin by admitting that the off-beat pairing of this renegade literary couple has fascinated me since before I can remember. On paper Stein, the sedentary, upper-crust salon matriarch, and
Hemingway, the piratical Midwestern journalist, sit on very opposite sides of the cultural equator. But if they were worlds apart in terms of their physical backgrounds, they were close as cousins when it came to their city of inspiration—Paris; their temperaments—surly, stubborn and highly inventive; and their mutually compatible raison d’êtres—to radically reshape the language of American prose. On a superficial level, I was intrigued for personal reasons. I am a Midwesterner, a woman and an aspiring writer. On a deeper level though, my fascination had more to do with their human chemistry, their writerly bond, their influential friendship and the strange shift in alliances that mysteriously ended it.

As the story goes, Hemingway first met Stein at her apartment at 27 Rue de Fleurus, where they almost instantly fell sway to the spell of first crush inebriation. Hemingway would stop by Stein’s atelier after a morning of writing to decompress and ingest copious amounts of eau-de-vie. Stein reveled in his tall tales of journalistic exploits from abroad and gave him advice on writing. Over time, the two expatriated compadres would alter each other’s lives significantly. It was Stein who introduced Hemingway to bullfighting, Spain and the painting of Cézanne. In return, Hemingway helped Stein find a magazine to publish her monolithic and barely navigable novel The Making of Americans in serial form. In fact, Hemingway revered Stein so deeply that when Stein found his writing unsatisfactory, he would throw it out and start over from scratch. He also named his unlikely mother, mentor and muse the godmother of his first child.