Tag Archives: The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

Let’s Forget Shopping Today!!

Wow. The first headline I saw on my phone this morning at 5am was that the heavy rains will continue and that one person drowned in the flood yesterday…

I was planning to drive into town to get the groceries today but after seeing that headline, and looking out at the still dark, rainy world outside my bedroom window — I decided that I have enough food around here to last me until tomorrow.

So I guess I’m just gonna plant myself here inside all day today and continue to work on editing the novel (The Guitar Hero Goes Home).

Mostly, I’m looking at the structure of it — and not necessarily the story structure, but the layout.  For whatever reason, the four books I currently have in progress (2 memoirs, 2 novels), have all come out of me in much shorter chapters,or segments — whatever you want to call it. I wouldn’t call it flash — except for perhaps In the Shadow of Narcissa; that one is flash (nonfiction/memoir). But I do really love the whole flash genre of literature, so perhaps on some level, I am creating now in that briefer way.

Even though The Guitar Hero Goes Home already has really short chapters and sub-chapters, I’m still breaking a lot of it up into even smaller sections — or themes, really.

There’s not a ton of sex in the book, but what is in there is usually explicit sex, so part of the structure involves sort of “roping those scenes off” so that they are set up, visually, to feel different, and maybe won’t feel quite as jarring as they have felt to me by not setting them apart. Meaning, the guy is talking about something and then suddenly he’s either talking about or having explicit sex. It feels strange to me. So I think that by giving the reader’s eye a cue that something is changing, it will help the sex stuff feel less out of place.

So that’s what I’m working on around here. When I’m not trying to breathe, that is.

Even though I’m still taking the large doses of Vitamin D, which are definitely helping, I am still having issues with catching my breath and it is making me completely insane. So I began wondering if maybe that specific problem stems strictly from stress and not from the COVID 19. I had the same problem back during 9/11 in NYC — when my C-PTSD was off the charts for several weeks and it was affecting my ability to breathe. Back then, in order to get through the day, I would take one Tylenol PM caplet every few hours in order to calm down, and it would work and then I could breathe.

So yesterday, I started taking one-quarter of one caplet throughout the day, to see if maybe that little bit could calm me down and stop the constant feeling of needing to catch my breath — and it worked, without actually putting me to sleep.

I tell you, though, I am going to be really, really happy when this part of reality is over and something else is going on. (That, hopefully, won’t impair my breathing.) I’m really, really sick of this.

So, this comment doesn’t really have anything to do with what I’ve just written, but I think it’s completely insane that Hollywood is doing a remake of the movie Scarface. I realize that Pacino’s film from 1983 is a remake of the 1932 version, but still. Pacino’s Scarface is simply too legendary for words. Why on Earth remake it? You know how Hollywood has this reputation now of having no original ideas left? Well, hmmm. Can’t imagine why…

For me, it feels sort of like when Bas Lurhmann, for some reason, needed to make a version of The Great Gatsby (2013) that would just jump right into your face. This is a film that had been made first in 1926, then famously redone in 1974, with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. And even while it might not have been a complete critical success, it was a legendary version of The Great Gatsby, and it kept to Fitzgerald’s gentle pacing of the book.

Fitzgerald was never a “jump into your face” kind of writer — he crafted every sentence with grace, and beauty, and emotional power. So, rather than turning Fitzgerald’s masterpiece into a bunch of noise, what would have been the harm in writing a whole new story about the Jazz Age that had never been written before, that maybe felt perfectly suited to jumping in our faces?  I guess the harm resides in it being too risky; the resulting story might not have been good enough.

Well, anyway. So a new version of Scarface is getting underway… I’m just glad that cable and streaming platforms helped break television writing wide open because we at least have all of that great (often exceptionally original) writing to turn to now.

And on that lofty note!! I better get started here today. I hope you have a nice (dry) Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting, gang!! I leave you with a track from Mark Lanegan’s new album, Straight Songs of Sorrow. The track is “Churchbells, Ghosts.” This album was my listening music from last night. Definitely not cheery, but still really good. So listen and enjoy. (Oh, and hey — maybe even purchase a download at a music streaming platform near you??) Okay. I love you guys. See ya!

 

“Churchbells, Ghosts”

Strange things happen in the city
Strange things happen in the street
Here I am, here I am out here walking
Walkin’ in wilderness so deep
In every passing car I hear her calling
In every one she speeds away
Lord, help me now because I’m bleeding
And I don’t want to fall away

All my life I’ve held this hammer
Hammered boulders into stones
Now I choke on tears of anger
And I am quickly growing cold
Lord, I wish that you could see me

I stagger now a wounded Atlas
Nothing else but blood and bone
Lord, help me now because I’m drowning
My boat don’t know the way to shore

Now I find myself in Kansas
Here I am, here I am, an aging hustler
Born without a mother, born without a soul
I’d ask somebody for a quarter
If there were someone for me to phone
Lord, don’t you hear me? I am calling
Lord, help me now, don’t let me fall

I find myself in Charlotte, find myself in Jacksonville
Here I am, I’m disappearing
There’s nothing left for me to kill
In every train that’s running by me
I hear her singin’ in the wheels
Lord, help me now, I’m going over
Lord, help me now, I’m going down

Lord, don’t you hear me crying?
Don’t you hear me saying goodbye?

© – 2020 Mark Lanegan

You’d think she’d just dig the fuck outta this…

This idea that the entire Universe is forcing me to stay home and write, you know? You’d think I’d just fucking love that.

And in a way, I do. Because, thankfully, I’m really healthy. Although yesterday, when we had that brief burst of mild Spring weather and I was able to open a couple of windows — man, that fresh air felt so incredible. I really, really miss the fresh air.

But I do really enjoy being alone. And writing. (Although, I would of course prefer being with that guy I’m totally trying not to love, but since that’s utterly impossible — just more impossible than you can possibly imagine — I just enjoy the fuck out of being alone…) (grumble grumble grumble)

But the sameness of the days is getting sort of weird. A little too “Groundhog Day”-ish, you know? Except for the fraction of a second that I interacted with the gals at the pizzeria, and the few moments standing 6 feet away from the guys at the Granville Inn — aside from that, I’ve been alone in here for 168 hours.

Thankfully, I talk to Peitor a lot. Or we text (constantly). We get a lot of creative stuff accomplished, which feels so great.  Other than that, though, I don’t really interact with anyone. I call my dad every day because he’s getting depressed. Not only is he on lockdown, too, but he doesn’t actually enjoy being alone, and, it’s been raining a lot where he lives so he can’t even get outdoors and take a walk.

Aside from that, he’s still grieving the death of his wife of 35 years. She’s only been gone 2 months now. And even though my dad and I have not had the best relationship during my adulthood, by any stretch of the imagination, even I knew that he had a really happy 3rd marriage. My stepmom was just the best.  They loved each other so much. And she was the easiest person to be around. One of those rare women that you just enjoy being in the same room with — and you really noticed it when she left a room. She had such uplifting, delighted, joyful energy all the time.

So with or without the quarantine, my dad no longer has that wonderful energy in his life. Now all he has is the TV.  And it’s on constantly — always on the news. Every time I call him, I have to say, “Dad, turn off the news. It’s depressing you.” Of course, he doesn’t do it, but I still feel it’s my sworn duty, you know, to tell him to do that every single darn day.

(I’m guessing that the minute we hang up the phone, he’s saying “You’re not the boss of me.” And he’s turning the volume on the news right back up!!)

But anyway. That’s my day. Peitor and/or my dad. Then I eat endless vegetables — so boring. I’ve already “ice-creamed” myself out — totally not interested in the ice cream anymore. So it’s back to eating really healthy stuff. Doing my yoga and my Booty Core, so that I can feel and look great during my endless days of living in captivity all by myself. And I still meditate and keep my endless little journals, so that my mind doesn’t completely unravel.

And then, you know, I sit down at my desk and write. In so many ways, that seems like heaven — so how come it doesn’t feel like heaven? Hmmm……

Oh — I did want to thank you guys for buying my books yesterday and during the night.  Seriously. I actually do appreciate it, even though you steadfastly refused to be led in the direction of my more literary pursuits — i.e. Twilight of the Immortal. I still really do appreciate that the old erotica still sells. (It will remain on sale for the next 4 weeks on Smashwords only.) (See yesterday morning’s post.)

But I do want to point out something, and I have no qualms whatsoever comparing that specific novel (Twilight of the Immortal) to F. Scott Fitzgerald. I honestly don’t. I know it’s a really well written book (that a lot of publishers also loved but they did not love the fact that there were so many lesbians in it & I was not willing to delete them from history). Still, I’ll point out that when F. Scott Fitzgerald died, you could not buy a copy of The Great Gatsby in any bookstore. Nobody wanted to read it.  (And, frankly, it is my favorite novel of all time.) And now, almost 100 years after it was written, it is not only considered a masterpiece of 20th Century American literature, but right now, today, it is ranked at #5 on Amazon’s Classic Literature list, and ranked #131 in all books.

All books. Do you know what that means? Can you even estimate how many books are being sold on Amazon right now — and that nearly 100-year-old book, which at one point, while he was still alive, nobody wanted to buy, is ranked at #131 amid those millions of titles?

Image result for the great gatsby cover art

I’m just saying. Your great-grandchildren will be more than happy to buy my lonely little book, let alone get it for free! Even though it doesn’t have a ton of sex in it… (And you’ll be stuck up there in Heaven — with any luck, that is, because it’s getting dicier with all that porn you’re reading — but anyway, you’ll be stuck up there just listening to harps and stuff!)

All righty!!!!

So here’s good news. The numbers, while increasing for now, are still encouraging. Close to 94,000 recoveries from the virus as of today (3/21/2020). About 179,000 known cases worldwide, and about 171,000 of those cases are considered mild.

And some other good news — because of all this quarantine stuff, that portion of my bathroom ceiling that collapsed yesterday because of all that sudden rain? I get to just ignore it for now because no way on Earth is anyone going to be able to come out here and fix it yet.

I love, love, love ignoring needed home repairs!! It is one of my very favorite things to do! And usually it bothers my conscience when I’m doing it, but not this time!! Yay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, guys. I guess that’s it for today.  I’m guessing that Nick Cave is out there, quarantined somewhere, too, and yet still wearing a suit and having some sort of a conversation!!! Alas, we don’t know for sure. It’s just an educated guess. (Yes, life’s getting a little boring here in my room.) Oh, I’ve started streaming re-runs of the British Crime Drama, DCI Banks in the evening. So that’s fun. And I did eventually finish watching Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary — man, was that good. If you like jazz and you haven’t seen that show, it’s totally something to watch. It’s about 20 hours, but still worth every moment.

All righty. Thanks for visiting! Wash your hands and stop touching your face already. Life is good. The world is beautiful. I love you and I feel certain that a whole lot of other people do, too! See ya, gang!!

“In My Room”

There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone
But I won’t be afraid
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room

© – 1963 Brian Wilson, Gary Usher