Yesterday I took a remarkable journey through the personal correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald archived at the Firestone Library on the campus of Princeton University. I held actual letters from Scott himself, as well as communication written by friends, writers and colleagues.
It was a surreal feeling reading these letters, often heartbreaking. Scott pleading with the life insurance company because he didn’t have the cash to pay the bill. Doctors detailing Zelda’s situation. Notes about his daughter, Scottie; a teen-aged Zelda telling Scott to stop writing so much.
I drove down with my executive producer, Richard ‘Deej’ Webb. We went through thousands of pieces and found two tied to Westport: A note from Scott to his best man, Ludlow Fower, and a letter to Scott from H.L Mencken and George Nathan, editors of the Smart Set Magazine. Both make great additions to our film.
Security was tight and one must strictly follow the rules. Fair enough–these documents need to be protected for future generations. Here’s the ID card required to be worn at all times. No drinks, no food, no pen or pencils or paper (they provide that). No bags or other personal possessions (although laptops are permitted).
We took … Read the rest
This week I was in Great Neck, Long Island filming for our Fitzgerald documentary. Kudos to the crew and to Alice Kasten, president of the Great Neck Historical Society, for spending the day in blistering heat, generously giving her time to show us her town.
Scott & Zelda lived in Great Neck in 1922 and 1923. From there he left for Paris where he wrote The Great Gatsby. The established thought about Gatsby is: West Egg is Great Neck and East Egg is Sands Point.
According to Alice, whenever the town reflects upon its history, it is naturally drawn to the 20’s and Gatsby–they even have a Gatsby Lane.
Our objective is not to debunk Great Neck’s impact on the Gatsby in this documentary, it’s about establishing Westport’s legitimacy in its contribution to what we find in Gatsby, as the writer Barbra Probst Solomon who grew up in Westport so eloquently accomplished with her 1996 New Yorker article. Unfortunately, that story failed to gain traction with the scholarly community.
Alice of Great Neck said, “I wasn’t even aware the Fitzgerald’s were in Westport.”
And so we are spending the summer digging into that era helping to flush out Ms. … Read the rest
More on My Year as a Clown:
I enjoyed the true honesty of My Year As A Clown and highly recommend Williams novel.
A book and a latte
Keeps you wondering what Chuck will do next . . . had me wanting to continue and had me thinking deeply about many of the things that happened to him . . .
A Book Lover’s Library
I enjoyed the journey and it really made me think about myself and what I would do in a similar situation. Even though I’m a chick and he’s a male, I still found myself connecting to him . . . I would recommend this to those who like people stories and for those that need a good shake up in their readings.
Carol Rae’s Random Ramblings
Previously Posted Reviews
Here’s what Teddy Rose said about My Year as a Clown:
Robert Steven Williams takes the reader on an emotional roller-coaster as we follow Chuck for a year. His writing is raw and at times profound…I highly recommend My Year As a Clown!
And here’s what Joy at Joy Story said:
. . . the humor sometimes gentle and subtle, reached ROFL proportions … Read the rest