Today’s post isn’t a book, or a poem, but rather an article I saw this morning from Harper’s Bazaar 14 Famous Love Letters from Celebrities and Historical Figures. Love letters are my weakness, naturally, but oh my this is quite a collection. Some of them you may be familiar with (F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda’s exchanges are frequently featured in these types of articles.) A few years ago on a weekend trip to Montgomery Alabama (random weekend spot, I know but it was a good meeting point between Tennessee and Florida,) I was dead set on visiting the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald home (which is now a museum) downtown. Some of their writings were even on display there. Despite my fascination with this celebrity literary couple, in this article it was Orson Welles words to Rita Hayworth that most deeply struck me. If you enjoy this one, be sure to check out the rest of these in the linked article above.
The last several times my family has gotten together, The Great Gatsby has come up in conversation. The first time I read it was the summer before eleventh grade. It was required reading for Mr.Harper’s AP English class. You know how much I love to read? I almost equally despise required reading. I could pick the same book up off the shelf myself, but if someone else is demanding I read it – in their timeline, and write about it only as they see it? Oh, it makes my insides cringe. I remember the end of summers where I would have to like bar myself in my room for days on end to try and get through the stack of books I’d put off. (Sometimes, my friends would even read them a loud to me, in an effort to get the process over with so we could reconvene our normal hang out routine (which mostly consisted of laying on the floor listening to awesome music, going thrifting, or swimming, or eating ice cream – you know, important stuff.) I remember sitting in my high school cafeteria, the first week of school where all of the students enrolled in AP English for the year had to take our summer reading test at the same time. I remember staring at that piece of paper thinking, the symbolism behind the green light on the dock?!?! (My other problem with required reading is that typically I speed read and I’m just waiting for the pages I’m holding in my left hand to be a great number more than the ones in my right.) I should interject here and tell you that I’m not THAT horrible with required reading. I absolutely adored To Kill a Mockingbird and The Poisonwood Bible. (Other novels I had an EXTREMELY difficult time with? Heart of Darkness and All the Pretty Horses were some of my hardest ever. I tried to talk to my 9th grade English teacher about Horses and what the heck was going on? But she was at a loss too, and I wondered why the book was even on the list…HOD came back to haunt me in college but then I wasn’t intentionally called upon to talk about something I didn’t know about.)
I gave you all that back story because I felt it’d be dishonest of me to act like I just loved this book the first time around. You should know it was more of an acquired taste. And actually, I can clearly remember the conversation now that I had with Jacki back in the Phi Mu house and she told me, just wait you are going to LOVE IT the second time you read it. Guess what? She was right. (Of course she was right. She was an English major and definitely knows her stuff.) Anyway, the thing is The Great Gatsby has come up in conversation so much lately, it feels like it’s constantly on my mind. From the incredible trailer they’re playing in the theatres now, to flapper fashion shoots, to Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris – it feels like it’s everywhere. Everyone does some deep thinking in the shower right? This morning I was half awake, and I was thinking about the glitzy parties Gatsby threw. (I don’t know why?) I was thinking about how I’d love to dress up, and drink champagne, and frolic in a grass backyard with jazzy music blasting. But then I thought again, there’s a facade to all of that. (Um, hello – did you read the book?) And I really wouldn’t enjoy the pretentious conversations I’d have to suffer through in order to enjoy the other parts. The grass is always greener right?
The Great Gatsby is so classic, it shouldn’t even be in a “throwback” category, it stands alone in its own space. This product description describes it well, without giving things away or you getting lost in my convoluted memories and rambling:
This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s. (Amazon.)
How long have we been waiting for this movie? Seriously, it feels like forever. It was slated for release last year, but postponed (I read somewhere so that it wouldn’t be contending for last year’s Academy Awards? But you can’t believe everything you read.) Either way – it’s finally coming. You don’t have to ask where I’m gonna be come May! Luckily, you have a few months so if this novel wasn’t ever on your required reading list, or you didn’t pick it up on your own – check it out!
I know, it seems like I’ve been on an Owen Wilson kick lately right? And while I do love him as an actor this wasn’t entirely intentional. When I saw a copy of Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris at the library last weekend, I had to pick it up. It made for the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon movie. I remember seeing the trailer for it back when Miracle 5 was still open in town, but I missed it when it was showing. We’ve seen Wilson and McAdams on-screen together before (remember Wedding Crashers?) but this time their chemistry is different – less appealing, and I didn’t envy their relationship one bit. Wilson plays Gil a successful writer in Hollywood, who is working on his first novel. Gil and his fiancé Inez are vacationing in Paris with her parents. Gil falls instantly in love with the city, and daydreams of living in a little attic style apartment, writing away. Inez doesn’t share this dream, she wants them to move to Malibu after the wedding. Inez’s parents are less than thrilled with her choice in marriage material, and don’t disguise their displeasure. Throw in a pretentious “expert in everything,” Paul who Inez is enamored with, and Gil can’t stand – and you’ve got a little drama brewing. While Inez joins Paul and his wife Carol out for nights of dancing, Gil seizes the opportunity for a midnight stroll through the city of lights. This is where it gets interesting, somehow Gil is transported in time to the roaring 20’s, the age of his literary heroes (Hemingway, Stein, Fitzgerald) a world of flapper dresses, glamorous parties, and the chance to have his work read by the masters. Now it’s like he lives a split life between the two worlds. What will become of his relationship with Inez? Will he ignore her urging that he’s just being a fanciful dreamer about his ideas to move to Paris? Well, watch and find out. This is just a fun movie, and I like thinking about what it would be like to sit down at a table and have a drink with some of the greatest artists who ever lived.
You can check out a trailer for the film here: