Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Creepers and Philosophers

I wrote this post a while ago but never got around to posting it. I still love FSCOTT though! Besties 4 lyf!

Hey friends, I have some great news. I am currently the world's foremost living expert on the life and works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Here's a list of all the Fitzgerald and Fitz memorabilia I've read:

Zelda, by Nancy Mitford (bio of his lovely wife)

This Side of Paradise

The Beautiful and the Damned

The Great Gatsby

Tender is the Night

The Last Tycoon

Scott Fitzgerald by Andrew Turnbull (amazing bio written by someone who knew him personally)

Everybody Was So Young (bio of the Murphys, my other life heros/the Fitzgeralds' close friends)

The past 5 months have been consumed with my Fitzgerald obsession, as I've read every novel Fitzgerald wrote in chronological order, bookended by two INCREDIBLE biographies and one random bio of his friends. (I refuse to read his short stories - it's my homage to his real genius.) I feel such an affinity for him. I mean, the man was a wreck. At a particularly boring party, he went into the kitchen and started boiling ladies' purses in a pot of tomato sauce. And he drank like 32 beers one day. (He didn't consider them “alcohol.” That term was reserved for GIN.) But I just love him – he was this sensitive, madly intuitive soul with all sorts of ego issues, obsessed with perpetuating his own legend, horribly depressed because his books didn't sell, but still convinced that he was one of the best writers of his time – and look! He was!

Obviously Gatsby was his best novel by FAR, and I have a theory why, but that's for another day. Right now I just wanted to say that Fitzgerald has been appointed guardian angel of all my life choices. Are there things in my past that I regret? Definitely. Perhaps I shouldn't have sent that thirty-seventh angry text. Perhaps I shouldn't have bought that tasteless camouflage miniskirt with the black netting from Wet Seal. But then I think to myself – would Fitzgerald approve of my life? Would he support my bad decisions, my mistakes, my imperfections, as someone who also made tons of bad decisions and was haunted by his own imperfections?


He would slur, “Tori, you bore me to tears! I'm going to boil your purse in a vat of tomato sauce! IS THAT MAN GAY? Why won't you pay attention to me?”

Because Fitzgerald was obsessed with DRAMA. He was impatient for life, too impatient to sit around at a boring party and listen to people talk about their babies/careers/stressors. He threw the Murphys' exquisite hand-blown gold-rimmed wine glasses down the mountainside because he felt instinctively that it was the right thing to do – that somehow, weirdly, those wineglasses were so beautiful that they deserved to break, that the night was so beautiful that each drink had to be sipped and then completely destroyed. He was reaching for the poetic heart of the moment by shattering all that delicate glass.

Not to say that the man wasn't totally annoying to be around. After the wineglass incident, the Murphys banned him from their mansion for 3 weeks. HA! And he drank too much, and he was terribly, terribly unhappy once those crazy years were over.

But still, I think there's something to be said about his zest for life – his crazy up-for-anything vibe coupled with intelligence and intuition and an intense interest in people. (I am NOT talking about the repulsive and desperate up-for-anything vibe that characterizes sorority girls and self-indulgent people and bros who are like “THIRSTY THURSDAY!!!!! YEAHHHUH.” I'm talking about something way more original and exciting. Think Gatsby's fabulous, melancholy, intriguing parties verses Superbowl Sunday. What? Elitist? Blame my servants.) Fitzgerald would push a night or an experience to its limit – sometimes to its awful, broken limit. I've never seen anybody do that. But I bet most of us secretly want to do that, instead of washing our wineglasses carefully and setting them in the back of the cupboard to gather dust.

(Basically, I desperately want to live in the twenties and be best friends with Scott and Zelda and have a burning animosity toward Hemingway (I hate him so much!) and talk to Edna St. Vincent Millay while she's drunk/on morphine and go to parties at the Murphys' and swim off the coast of France with pearls on.)

1 comment:

  1. I love him, too! He boiled purses. Damn! I heard a great story about Gatsby on NPR a few months ago that included a guy who has literally memorized every single word of Gatsby. The interviewer tested him and he got it all right.


You are truly great.