Tag Archives: f scott fitzgerald

An Emotional Attachment to Works of Fiction

Cover of "The Crack-Up"

I think we have all cracked up. Yeah?

On the surface, it sounds completely insane to become so wrapped up in characters or story lines in works of fiction that you become emotionally attached to them.  But millions of people all over the world are afflicted by this every day.

Just take a look at super religious types.  They are so emotionally attached to their holy books that they believe they are written by a divine entity.  They are ruled by their books.  They make them, and the stories in them, real.

I know I will catch a lot of flak for that from the religious folk out there, but you know it is true.  And I know that there has to be a name for this “disorder” (if you want to call it that) out there, but I will be danged if I know what it is. (If anyone knows, please tell me…)

I am a vicious little heathen, but I can relate to an observant religious person’s unyielding love for well-written and compelling works of fiction.  But instead of the heroes in the Bible, or any holy book of one’s choice, I am more attracted to the anti-hero in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work, or horrible, brutal villains in Peter Lorre films.

Make no mistake, darlings, I always root for the bad guys.  I’m wicked that way.

Whatever the case might be, this is something that affects most of us.  And why do you think that is?  Why do we place such importance on people and things that do not really exist?

Is it because we see ourselves in characters and situations portrayed in books and on film?  Or is it something else entirely?

Colonel Gimpy Crack-Up

Look at that face. Who wouldn’t fall head over heels? ;) (Peter Lorre as Colonel Gimpy in the 1936 film Crack-Up.)

My best friend tells me that when I describe the aforementioned F. Scott Fitzgerald works, or my beloved Colonel Gimpy from the movie Crack-Up, I sound like the biggest, most faithful religious zealot in the world.  I treat them not as works of fiction, but as people and situations that are real, and that I have somehow personally experienced what is going on.

I feel compelled to convert everyone into fans of what I love, just like a Missionary in Africa wants to convert the “lost” in some remote African village (or something) to their religion so their heathen souls go on to paradise in the afterlife.

What’s more, it is a compulsion that I do not want to get rid of.  Indeed, I want to feed it and make it grow.  And it is something that I have plenty of enablers for, believe it or not.  I ask for people to justify my mania and they do.  All the time.

By now you are probably either thinking I am completely insane—or you are nodding your head and completely identifying with everything I have said.  So what are your thoughts?  I will ask again:  what is it you think is the reason, if any, behind people’s emotional attachment to works of fiction?  Is it a mental disorder or is it something that is a completely normal part of being human?

(By the way, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Play The Crack-Up and Peter Lorre’s film Crack-Up are not in any way related…)

Here Comes Another Bad Review for Gatsby 2013…

gatsby 2013I have mentioned The Great Gatsby 2013 more than a few times over the past several months without having seen it.  Based on the trailers alone (and the fact that Baz Luhrmann directed it), I declared it offensive and complete and utter rubbish.

Many people have told me I was too quick to judge, that I should actually see it before casting any judgment—good, bad, or otherwise.

Well, my darlings, I saw it this past Sunday and can now say with confidence that all my suspicions were right—it is absolutely horrible.  I’ll give you the highlights here and you can decide for yourself whether you want to see it. Continue reading

Dear Hollywood, Please Stop Reinventing Gatsby

The Greaty Gatsby

Cover of the first volume in the series (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My second post on this blog asked “Does the world really need another Gatsby?” speaking of the the various adaptions of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby.  And a while back, I wrote a more creative post on how one can learn from Gatsby’s mistakes.  I also included the novel in a short list of must-reads by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I think it is safe to say that I love The Great Gatsby more than life itself.  I am also extremely protective of F. Scott Fitzgerald and all the hard work (and hard drinking) he put into everything he wrote.

When I love something, I put my entire being into it.  I want to preserve it and get people as interested in it as I am.  That is one of the reasons I started this blog.

And I want people to love F. Scott Fitzgerald as much as I do.  I want them to appreciate and respect his genius.  Like most true artists, that something he did not get to experience much in his lifetime. Continue reading

You Know You’ve Arrived When You Get Hate Mail

Hate Mail

Hate Mail (Photo credit: Jen_Mo)

It has been an excruciatingly long week, my babies, so I am glad the weekend is finally here.  The worst was when an EF0 tornado touched down not even a half a block from my digs on Wednesday and ripped the roof clean off a home.

Tornadoes never happen in this neighborhood.  We have this sense of security because we live on a large network of hills (the neighborhood is, in fact, called “The Hill”), so we are rarely ever affected by things like tornadoes and floods.

The best part of the week was receiving the first-ever hate mail for my blog.  You might be thinking one of two things here.  A) Why would such an innocent and sweet blog like The Little Jazz Baby get hate mail?  Or, B) Why the hell would receiving hate mail be the BEST part of the week?

Well, I am about to tell you… Continue reading

Words That Will Tenderly Tear Your Heart Out

Cover of "Tender Is the Night"

Cover of Tender Is the Night

For many years I have been torn on whether I should consider Tender is the Night or The Great Gatsby as my all-time favorite novel.  Both were written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and both are masterpieces of the English language.

As I come from a fresh re-reading of Tender, I am definitely leaning toward it taking the place of my beloved Gatsby.  I almost feel dirty for even considering cheating on what has been my favorite novel for over 20 years…but Tender is the Night does something to me that Gatsby, nor any other book (fiction or nonfiction) can do…

It causes deep physical and emotional reactions in me that last for days after I have finished reading it.

It is that well-written. That touching. Continue reading

The Curious Case of Craptastic Hollywood

f scott fizgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald being gorgeous in the sun.

Today I am continuing on with what I have dubbed “F. Scotty Fitz Week” with another post focusing on the literary genius of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In addition to novels that were outright perfection, Scott also wrote many short stories that originally appeared in publications such as Esquire and the Saturday Evening Post.

One of those stories, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, was first published in the May 27, 1922 edition of Colliers magazine.

The story is a fantasy about a baby who was born an old man.  A grown-up old man with a white beard and yellowed teeth, who talks, smokes, drinks and scandalizes his parents.  As the years progress, he becomes younger and younger, and eventually his grown children have to care for him as if he is one of their own wee brats.

Overall, it is a beautiful story about one family’s ability to cope with a unique situation. In an age where people with special needs were treated rather inhumanely, Fitzgerald found a way to make a hero out of someone who, in reality, probably would have been hidden from the public. Continue reading

4 Things You Can Learn from Gatsby’s Mistakes

The Great Gatsby (1926 film)

Lobby card for the first screen adaption of The Great Gatsby (1926) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

88 years ago today one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written was published.  I am speaking, of course, of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short novel The Great Gatsby.

**SPOILER ALERT**

The novel, set in 1922 Long Island, centers around the mystery and obsessive nature of one man, Jay Gatsby.  He is in love with a rich woman named Daisy Buchanan, whom he met while he was in the service during World War I.

After a brief affair, Daisy dumped him because he did not have the money and security she felt she deserved.  She chose to marry the rich and powerful Tom Buchanan instead.

Her marriage meant nothing to Jay Gatsby.  He set out to do everything he could to win her affection.  All the money he made, all the parties he threw, all the dreams he had—everything—was to impress her and make her fall in love with him.  He even took the blame for the hit and run that killed Tom Buchanan’s mistress, Myrtle Wilson.

Nothing but having Daisy mattered to him. Even if it meant going to jail for a crime she committed. Continue reading

My Top 4 Red-Hot Jazz Daddies

You are probably looking at this title and thinking, “What the heck is a ‘Red-Hot Jazz Daddy’?”  You probably have a head full of guesses, but you aren’t really sure.

In flapper terminology, a “daddy” is a girl’s boyfriend—and odd enough, a flapper’s daddy in the parental sense is a “dapper”.  I added “red-hot jazz” to the title because it makes it look more interesting than plain old “My Top 4 Daddies”. And besides that, all the fellows on the following list were hot, physically (at least to me) and creatively.  If I had my way, I would go back in time and marry all of them. All. At the same time.  I am a polygamist at heart. Continue reading

Does the World Really Need Another Gatsby?

The cover of the first edition of The Great Gatsby

The cover of the first edition of The Great Gatsby (1925) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On April 10, 1925, one of the world’s greatest literary works was released—F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Fitzgerald began writing the novel in June 1922, but used most of the original material in his short story Absolution, which dealt with sin, guilt, and the imagination—things that every Catholic schoolboy can identify with.

Gatsby was near and dear to Fitzgerald’s heart.  He wanted it to be perfect.  So he worked feverishly for the next two and a half years to create something he knew would make him a legend in the literary world. Continue reading