A Wasted Day and THE GREAT GATSBY
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Every so often I have a "Lost Weekend" day--a day when I feel so unwell that nothing is accomplished and the following day I feel as if I have had a lost weekend. I don't bounce back as I did in my youth.
Tonight we are doing "The Great Gatsby" at my occasional book-club. Rereading it has been a treat. I'm impressed with the beauty and brilliance of Fitzgerald's prose. I'm impressed with the way he has captured the essential tawdriness of most human motivation and desire. The best literature always has a timeless element. Songs, dances, and dress designs of the 1920's might pin the novel in place in time, but the meretricious in humanity is eternal. Wanting and longing for things that we cannot have, things that are really bad for us, things that are indeed worthless seems to be inbuilt into people too.
I have seen many babies--including my own children---get mesmerized by a trinket and NEED to possess it. I don't think they learn that behavior: I think it's an innate as breathing. Longing. aspiration, desire: perhaps learning to let go of it is the lesson of life?
I love to reread books. It's always a new experience for me. The first time I read this novel was almost 50 years ago. I was in the 9th grade and I thought that Gatsby was really super, hyper cool. I wanted to be that kind of person: the one who can say "old sport" effortlessly, the one with the party guests, the one with a plethora of shirts. I didn't spend much time thinking about or judging murder, crime, false values, recklessness, cheating, and lying.
I am much different today when I view Gatsby as a worried mother might see a son doing profligate things with credit cards and unsavory friends.