Who knew that a long article about F Scott Fitzgerald's tax returns could be so interesting?
The five months of furious short-story writing in 1923-24 had left him with a stake of $7,000. In Great Neck, that would only cover two and a half months of expenses. How could he stretch the $7,000 to gain the time to finish Gatsby? Earlier, as he was struggling to save, a friend wrote from France to suggest that Fitz-gerald join the many Americans living well in Europe on the strong American dollar. The friend wrote that it cost one-tenth as much to live in Europe: he had just finished "a meal fit for a king, washed down with champagne, for the absurd sum of sixty-one cents." Fitzgerald thought, based on the friend's recommendation, living expenses on the off-season Riviera would be low enough to let him finish Gatsby without any short-story interruptions.
At the risk turning into a Benjamin Button fan site (gallery featuring 250 hi-res photos of Brad Pitt scanned from magazines coming soon!), here's one more little bit of info. Jonathan McNicol has taken the text of Fitzgerald's short story and will be serializing nicely-designed and proofread PDFs of the story on his site for the next 11 days. Chapter one has been posted and it's a beaut.
Trailer for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. David Fincher, Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Pitt's character starts off as an old man and ages backwards. Is it possible to buy tickets for this *right now*? BTW, the full text of the Fitzgerald short story on which the film is based is available online.
Not wanting to drag my current hardcover with me to the beach, I grabbed The Great Gatsby off the shelf as I left the apartment this morning. I cracked it open on the platform as I waited for the subway and continued reading on the train. Once I arrived at Rockaway Beach, I had a quick lunch and walked down the boardwalk to find a good spot for me and my blanket. Between swims and relaxing naps in the sun, I continued reading. A few hours later, I got back on the train toward Manhattan, reading all the way. As the train slowed for its stop at 14th Street, I read the final paragraph, closed the book, and stood just in time for the doors to snap open in front of me. Fitzgerald, some 80 years ago, must have written the book just for my trip today.