Like most people, I met him in high school.
Everyone loved him. Teachers obsessed over him. Girls whispered about him. Guys wanted to be him.
I was different. I didn’t have anything against him, but I wasn’t going to waste my time trying to get to know him. He was simply one of those people you just hear about.
F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I reintroduced myself to him in college. I wasn’t expecting much, but I gave him a chance.
It started when I picked up “This Side of Paradise.” This was our awkward phase. I knew he was trying really hard to win me over, but I saw no value in the interaction. It was a forceful friendship with a brutal start. I knew he was smart and well-read. He wrote poetry and songs. Yet I didn’t feel anything for him and our story was going nowhere. The legend and myth was just a man trying to get his start in the world. He wasn’t confident in his work and it showed. Seeing him at his worst, however, made seeing him at his best all the sweeter.
“The Beautiful and the Damned” was our next phase and the most pleasant time we’ve spent together. He didn’t put up a façade or try to impress me. He saw the world for what it was and he wasn’t afraid to share his thoughts. He pulled me in. From his point of view, love was temporary, but worth taking a chance on. He felt jealousy, distaste and remorse before adoration. All I wanted was to spend more time with him in this phase of adoration.
When I got to “The Great Gatsby,”our relationship was seamless. I knew his story and I knew his inspiration. I was in love with the people he invented, the stories he created and his ability to make me care. After this, I knew he would hold a special place in my heart.
I ended up having a 10-month affair with F. Scott.
But I knew it had to come to an end.
“Tender is the Night” was a slow, but sure, decay of our relationship. He became too predictable; too scatterbrained. He was focusing less on me and more on his reputation. I told myself to stay in it a little longer because everyone has rough patches. Though, I knew he had given up.
Then, the story came to an end. As I shut the book, I ended the affair knowing I came out of it for the better.
The progression of a writer is slow and steady. A writer must be passionate, unique and timeless enough to withstand the strain of age.
All very difficult to do.
F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the great writers of American literature. But, that doesn’t mean he was a perfect writer. I learned how special his works could be, but I also learned how horrific and painstaking they could be as well.
This is why literary affairs never last. The best and the worst collide constantly.