My Very First Post
I recently dug into the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, that luminary of the Jazz Age, while staying at a bed and breakfast. Actually, I was staying in his room—or, at least, the room named for him.¹ At any rate, Fitzgerald impressed me as being a victim of circumstance. Born into a distinguished, wealthy family, he served in the first World War, then courted and married a southern beauty who was cursed by mental illness. (If that sounds like the perfect set-up for a Gothic novel, you’re not too far off.) Yet, in spite of it, Fitzgerald still managed a great proliferation of work, some of which took place in my own back yard.
Because of this close proximity, I’d like to “take up” Scott Fitzgerald’s life more in the new year; walk around a bit in his shoes and try to imagine his world. I like doing this with sages like Sandburg or Dickens—appreciating them for their humanness more than their contributions to the field. I have to know someone before I can glean something from what they write. That’s why I rummage through the countryside, chasing after old places and home sites, the proud monuments to people and dreams exhausted. My theory is, if you walk around a bit in their world, some of their significance is bound to rub off on you.
Since I’ve already spent some time getting to know Fitzgerald, the first thing I’ll do is pick up a copy of his tour-de-force, The Great Gatsby. I once dozed my way through the movie version, so hopefully the real thing will be a bit more engaging.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
M B H
¹Sadly, the bed and breakfast that inspired this post, the Richmond Hill Inn, no longer exists. Perhaps in a twist of irony, the historic house was burned to the ground by arsonists in 2009. (The property and some of the outbuildings survived; it now operates as a retreat center.) This post was originally published on December 30, 2005. Rev: 9/2009, 12/2014. Note added 1/2017.