Gatsby Groupies

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 “Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

gatsbyI feel as if I am becoming a Gatsby groupie! Today I walked into the Bud Werner Library, and saw a display case announcing the next One Book Steamboat (a community read). It is The Great Gatsby.I’m in,” I thought, as I proceeded to the DVDs and took out the 2000 production of The Great Gatsby movie by A & E Television Networks. Then I wandered over the computer and put in a reserve for a copy of the book by the same title.

I guess I haven’t had enough of the Fitzgeralds, the Jazz Age and the Long Island social elite even though last summer on my vacation, I took in the movie The Great Gatsby with my sister and I also hawked my mother’s copy of  Zelda and read it.

Truthfully, I was disappointed in the latest rendition of the movie, with Leonardo DiCaprio. The visual effects, I felt, were so over the top and frantic that it distracted me from being able to absorb the tragic tale of wealth and entitlement. The telling essence of Jay Gatsby’s character weaknesses were lost in the visual chaos of the movie, rather being told by the dialogue of the story.

The book Zelda, for me, provided much better insight into the psyche of an artist who “never wanted to give in or give up” despite failure and rejection. The narrative told an up-close and personal story of the relationship between wife and husband, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald and it gave historical perspective into their friendships with other contemporaries (filmmakers, writers and artists) from the era.

As a lead-up to the community discussion of the novel, on October 10th, the latest Leo Dicaprio version of “Gatsby” will be aired at the Bud Werner Library. I’ll probably skip it. But then again, perhaps with a second look I might have a different opinion. But I hope not to miss what will probably be a very fulfilling discussion on Monday, October 21st.  It will be led by the English teachers of SteamboatHigh School. I hope students are required to join in and read this classic novel.  For more information, please follow this link.

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Lesser Known Facts about F. Scott Fitzgerald

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All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”  ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Yesterday was the birthday of author of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

We are all familiar with his notable books, which have become classics, but there are some lesser known facts about this author. Francis Scott Key, the composer of our National Anthem, was Fitzgerald’s 2nd cousin, three times removed.  Fitzgerald’s parents honored the memory of the composer Key by using “F.Scott ” to name their son.

He also spent time living and writing at the Paix Estate in the suburbs of Baltimore in Towson, Maryland, the town where I grew up.   He lived there while his wife, Zelda, was being treated for schizophrenia. At that time he worked on his story of Dick Diver, a bright young psychiatrist who falls in love with one of his patients. Some historians say that his writing of this book provided Fitzgerald with a fulfilling way to tell his story of his marriage to Zelda and her mental problems. For info on the 2013 publicationk about Fitzgerald’s wife, please click here  Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.

His remains are in Maryland. Evidently because his parents were practicing Catholics, whereas he was not, there was controversy over his burial. To read more about his life and death, please visit this link.

F. Scott Fitzgerald also wrote for the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers and Esquire Magazine. His face graced the cover of the “Post” in a painting by Norman Rockwell that complimented his short story called “Bernice Bobs Her Hair.”

Happy Belated Birthday to F. Scott Fitzgerald, an author who helped to shape the literary world in this country.

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