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Naomi McDougall Jones and the Ghost of Hemingway
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Wednesday, September 1, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Naomi McDougall Jones has had a fling with the vampire life in her award-winning film “Bite Me.” And she’s currently at work on a script about a haunted castle, which she hopes to turn into a film in the fall of 2022.

One of her newest endeavors is a book she’s writing about her encounter with the ghost of Ernest Hemingway tentatively titled “Big Papa, Little Girl: What I Learned about Womanhood through the Ghost of Ernest Hemingway.”

Jones first came to Sun Valley about five years ago, serving as a featured speaker at David Adler’s Conversations with Exceptional Women and on a tour promoting her film “Imagine I’m Beautiful.”

She had needed a haircut for three weeks and finally managed to carve out an hour while in Ketchum. That haircut would cause her hair to stand on end.

“I sat down in the chair and the hair stylist said, ‘How long have you lived here?’ ” Jones recounted.

Jones responded that she didn’t live in Ketchum only to have the hair stylist retort: “No, no, you live here. If you don’t, you’re going to be back. Hemingway wats you here and he has something he needs to tell you.”

The hairstylist then had Jones write her name on the wall with a Sharpie pen so she would be reminded of their conversation when she did return.

Jones did return in the Fall of 2019 as the inaugural resident in The Community Library’s Writer-in-Residence program. She staged a play reading for her work-in-progress “Hammond Castle” when another woman told her, “I knew you’d be back. Hemingway wants you here. He has a spot in his house and you need to find it and sit and listen.”

The opportunity came sooner than Jones might have expected. Jones was taking out the trash one night when she noticed a light on upstairs in the Hemingway House. Knowing no one had been there, she called the library to have someone turn it off.

But, when she took at the garbage again, the light was on in the same place. This time, Jones got the key herself. Climbing the stairs, she found the light over Hemingway’s typewriter where he wrote looking out onto the Pioneer and Boulder Mountains.

“I sat down and said, ‘What do you want me to know? And I started writing,” she said.

And what did Papa have to say? Well, you’ll just have to wait for Jones’ book to come out!

Oh, and P.S. Naomi McDougall Jones and her husband moved to the Wood River Valley last year during the pandemic.

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