Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Aimless Reading: The F's, Part 12.1 (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

The Last Tycoon
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
The Last Tycoon

I am not sure if this memory is true or not, but it is in fact a memory. I think I may have bought this in high school or pre-college (I took a year off before going to the first of three schools) when, having decided I wanted to read something (an unusual task at the time) and not knowing what to read, I went to the store and looked for books by the one or two authors I HAD read.

I knew that I liked Fitzgerald, so picked a random book that bore his name off the the bookstore shelf. Three pages in I decided I didn't like it as much as The Great Gatsby, put it down and left it to decay on my shelves for 20-odd years until this very moment, when it has re-appeared to serve a new, higher purpose, that of offering itself up for speculative psychological fodder on this here blog.

As I said, that may all be a sort of fiction .

I am certain that that is the story of several books in my library, but I am not sure which ones. I am not even sure if any of them are still IN the library! They are all in my memory.

At least, the form of the narrative I created for them is. I wonder what the story means? It seems to reach back into my childhood, when my mother used to tell me that I "never finish anything." For instance, when I took cornet lessons, my parents refused to buy me an instrument, renting me one instead until I proved I was 'serious' about playing. At what point I would be considered serious I never knew. I am not a trumpet player. Is that my fault?

I recall a mental state in which I was always trying to overcome the doubt I felt about my ability to "finish" the task at hand. I think I have grown out of that state, for the most part, but the form of the story in which I am at the center, not finishing some important task, remains.

The Last Tycoon is Fitzgerald's final, unfinished novel.


Though I haven't ever been on the screen I was brought up in pictures. Rudolph Valentino came to my fifth birthday party–or so I was told. I put this down only to indicate that even before the age of reason I was in a position to watch the wheels go round.

1 comment:

Marvin K. Mooney said...

What goes unfinished is truly the most beautiful.