Although Hemingway may have been referring to a simplification of writing style more than anything else, the statement also reveals something of the man behind the work. Despite being an avid note-taker -- 'He was a man who kept everything -- to-do lists, tickets to boxing matches, notes made on the backs of old letters' (Reynolds p. 4) -- the degree to which details and events were subject to fabrication within Ernest's works continues to be debated. Michael Reynolds goes on to observe, for instance, that 'Hemingway put his meeting with Sylvia two months after it actually occurred.' (p. 12). In addition to his grand ability to make fiction seem real, however, Hemingway captures the feeling of the event well enough, 'remembering it right in spirit', and rendering the small matter of historical accuracy almost inconsequential.
Following his work on A Moveable Feast -- the majority of which was written between 1957 and 1960 -- Hemingway's memory would decline at an alarming rate, a sure side-effect of the electroconvulsive shock therapy that he first received at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic towards the end of 1960. Whether the ECT was more help or harm remains debatable; unfortunately, though, in the short time that remained before his second, successful suicide attempt (on 2 July 1961), the author would suffer severely from paranoia (he was soundly convinced he was wanted by the FBI), spiralling depression and a range of physical complaints that made the task of writing ever less achievable.