In 1920 Zelda told Scott she was homesick and had a serious hankering for biscuits and peaches. At the time they were living in Westport, CT. Scott suggested they drive down and surprise her parents. Not an easy jaunt even today, but imagine what the roads were like back in those days. No AAA to bail you out when the car conked out. Few service stations along the way either. Scott wrote about the adventure in a short story called The Cruise of the Rolling Junk.
My partner in crime and I are making the same trip, albiet by airplane for the Fitzgerald Society Conference. We’re presenting our thesis about Westport’s role in Scott’s writing. Should be lots of fun, but we’re both a bit antsy given that the conference is attended by academics, folks that have dedicated their lives to the study of Fitzgerald. We’ve hired a film crew and we’ll be capturing all the thrills and chills along the way.… Read the rest
Last week I obtained a copy of ‘One Hundred False Starts,’ an essay written by F. Scott Fitzgerald that ran in the March, 1933 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. The essay captures what appears to be real ‘false starts’ Fitzgerald had experienced as a writer.
Snippets, phrases, names, scenarios, often unintelligible scraps of thought, all captured on paper to jog his memory to flush out the idea at a later date. As a writer who has dropped the ball on countless sparks of so-called brilliance, it was comforting to feel the struggle, the joy, and the confusion over bubbles of inspiration that felt flat upon later inspection.
Fitzgerald concluded that the key to avoiding a future filled with false starts is to begin with an emotion, one that’s close to you, one that you can understand. He was talking about himself, but his words resonated because I’ve grappled with false starts for years. My output is not nearly as prolific as others. I often lose interest in an idea that at first glance appears to be the mother lode.
This fool’s gold typically lacks an emotional connection, it’s one of the reasons I struggle to co-write songs, all … Read the rest
I’m reading next Tuesday at the Indie Reader event Authors Unbound. I’ll be joined by three other authors. I’ll be reading from My Year as a Clown as well as playing the song that’s a free download in the book. Hope to see you there.
765 Washington Street
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Forty-eight hours of filming last week:
An afternoon on the Upper East Side interviewing Barbara Probst Solomon, the author of the seminal article on Westport and Gatsby for The New Yorker in 1996.
We were fortunate to spend an afternoon at her apartment talking about her childhood in Westport and her views on Scott and Zelda during that summer of 1920.
Barbara’s parents owned Great Marsh, the estate across the Saugatuck River and Sound from the Wakeman Farm. Barbara went to the Sorbonne in Paris after World War II. She and Norman Mailer’s sister Barbara Wasserman participated in the historic escape of two Spanish students from Franco’s goulag Cuelgamuros near Madrid. A prolific writer, the Harry Ransom Collection of the U of Texas, has recently acquired Barbara’s archives including her work in the modern post World War II Spanish resistance.
We hightailed it back to Westport for some evening filming including the Saugatuck River Bridge to capture the scattered lights of Marietta, as detailed in The Beautiful and Damned, the novel scholars all agree was written while Scott was here.
. . . The great cascade of wires that rose high above the river…and ran with the railroad Bridge … Read the rest