My relationship with F. Scott Fitzgerald has evolved over the years, but he is still one of the great literary loves of my life. I discovered him at 11 years old when my aunt gave me a copy of The Great Gatsby.. I read it all in one go. After that, I was hooked and quick to read anything Fitzgerald had ever written. In middle school and high school, I was taken by the romance of it all. His books were magical; the parties, the glamour, those beautiful lyrical prose. It was only after I was older and began reading about Fitzgerald’s life that I truly came to understand the depth of his work.
Life for a while was a great shindig for Fitzgerald. He married the love if his life, the belle of the ball, his first book This Side of Paradise was a huge success, but so much can change in a decade. Success is fleeting, the belle would stray, be forgiven, go mad and end up in an asylum. Fitzgerald would lose himself in gin and insecurities. He would die of a heart attack at the young age of 44 at a time when he was just finding his creative voice again.
Fitzgerald is not unlike you or me. He was man who understood grey, the fading of the seasons, the sting and zing of a lived life. I hope he is at peace, his final chapter written much too soon. When I am in a particular melancholy mood, I read Fitzgerald’s work and let his words guide me, Knowing that the man behind the text understood life’s nuances, that dreams are often lost in the dirty laundry, that the heart is constantly bending itself and being reshaped, that often failure is just a deceptive voice, that we have to move with the taste of change and finally, that everything has a conclusion. Or does it? Fitzgerald’s words will last long after our cars are replaced with hearses, his ancient ledger of living verbs, nouns, and adjectives, a future pearl for a new generation.
Now if you will excuse me, I’m feeling a bit blue today. Gatsby is calling, like a hidden note, I wonder what his pages will reveal today.
“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald