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Please, please don’t be so depressed—We’ll be married soon, and then these lonesome nights will be over forever—and until we are, I am loving, loving every tiny minute of the day and night—
Maybe you won’t understand this, but sometimes when I miss you most, it’s hardest to write—and you always know when I make myself—Just the ache of it all—and I can’t tell you.
If we were together, you’d feel how strong it is—you’re so sweet when you’re melancholy. I love your sad tenderness—when I’ve hurt you—That’s one of the reasons I could never be sorry for our quarrels—and they bothered you so— Those dear, dear little fusses, when I always tried so hard to make you kiss and forget—
Scott—there’s nothing in all the world I want but you—and your precious love—All the materials things are nothing.
I’d just hate to live a sordid, colorless existence-because you’d soon love me less—and less—and I’d do anything—anything—to keep your heart for my own—I don’t want to live—I want to love first, and live incidentally…
Don’t—don’t ever think of the things you can’t give me—You’ve trusted me with the dearest heart of all—and it’s so damn much more than anybody else in all the world has ever had—
How can you think deliberately of life without me—If you should die—O Darling—darling Scott—It’d be like going blind…I’d have no purpose in life—just a pretty—decoration.
Don’t you think I was made for you? I feel like you had me ordered—and I was delivered to you—to be worn—I want you to wear me, like a watch—charm or a button hole bouquet—to the world.
And then, when we’re alone, I want to help—to know that you can’t do anything without me…
All my heart—
I love you”
Zelda Sayre to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Spring 1919
Rereading The Great Gatsby: Chapter 1
I’m in the process of rereading that great American classic, The Great Gatsby. And yeah, I’m reading it again because the movie comes out on May 10th and I want a refresher on the story so I can enjoy what will surely be a visual spectacle. The last time I read The Great Gatsby I was 16 in my high school English class. And I did not want to read it. I didn’t want to read it so much that I think I convinced myself that I really hated the book. After going through the first chapter again I can confidently say I do not hate this book.
Forgetting for a moment about the story, there are certain sentences just in this first chapter that are so beautifully crafted. I want to whack my 16 year old self with this American classic for not falling madly in love with the language in this book. Lines like, “Already it was deep summer on roadhouse roofs and in front of wayside garages, where new red gas-pumps sat out in pools of light…” and “…I was alone again in the unquiet darkness.” These are wonderful words, and it’s too bad that I was too stubborn for six years to realize how great this language is.
As I’ve moved out of the “required reading” stage of my life I’ve picked up a habit that at 16 I never would have done voluntarily. When I read now, I always keep a pen nearby. In school we were always told to underline parts of stories that were important to the plot or things that were symbols. I was always crap at that particular task because I thought everything was important to the plot so I would underline whole pages AND I can’t identify symbols even there are blinking neon arrows pointing them out. So instead of trying to underline for these things, I’ve taken to underlining good words. Not bits that are important to the story (cause really, the whole thing is the story so isn’t the whole thing important?) but instead sentences that are compelling. Sentences that sound good, that take this weird complicated thing that is language and twist it into something beautiful.
So I might have started out rereading The Great Gatsby because of a bit of guilt about wanting to see the movie while not liking the book. But now I’m diving into the rest of the book with an eye out for more great language. This time around I get to read it on my own terms. And while all those symbols (which I understand only because they were explained to me oh so many years ago) like the green light at the end of the dock and the Dr. TJ Eckleburg eyes will always be there and always be interesting, this time I’m reading for the words.
Onward to chapter two!