Monday, May 27, 2013

On the road to West Egg

I don't feel like writing anything, but I will say YES, THAT to someone else being self-righteously and long-windedly indignant about the further wrecking of all of our nice things.  I mean, I haven't seen the movie and I don't necessarily gaf, but I will safely assume that it's going to piss off FSF fans. 

"Why can't they make one movie that is just pitch-perfectly what-it-was?"  Challah, my sister.  You're gonna have a hard time in this life, btw.

I don't understand what seems to be the typical takeaway from The Great Gatsby.  Are people just looking at the cover of the book and drawing their own conclusions?  Why does everyone think this is a novel about how fabulous and mysterious a rich guy is?  To me, the central theme is about wanting something desperately and never getting it, and the strange manifestations that creates in behavior. Gatsby is not the ultimate coolguy, he is a wraith in a big empty house, rattling his chains to no one.  F. Scott couched all of that inside of long automobiles and fountains of champagne as a device.  It's not the point. 

After I wrote that, I watched a video of Bill Nack reciting the last couple of paragraphs from the book, which told me two things, the first of which is that I might have a skewed-ass view of this book myself.  Is it actually about hope and the beauty of sentiment?  Have I completely grouched this thing up?  Maybe.  I'll read it again soon and decide. 

The second thing is that F. Scott's prose is deeper and more perfect than I had admitted before.  It's beautiful and affecting.  The first time I read the book, I got so tired of noting line after winning line that I stopped reflecting on the artistry because it was preventing me from getting into the story.  WE KNOW. YOU'RE GOOD. NOW STOP INTERRUPTING.  Hearing the words said aloud is a whole other level, of course.  Ted Hughes said it was a necessity to read poetry aloud, but in this case, maybe prose too. 


Kate Beaton addresses the Fitzgerald marriage on Hark a Vagrant.

F. Scott's editor's first impression of the book: "a great deal of underlying thought of unusual quality."

Hemingway to FSF after reading Tender is the Night: "You can write twice as well now as you ever could. All you need to do is write truly and not care about what the fate of it is."

And again, FSF to his young daughter, Scottie: "I am glad you are happy — but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed pages, they never really happen to you in life."

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