Author’s best quotes snubbed by social media

When October rolled around, everyone and his brother quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

If you so much as skimmed Facebook or Instagram, you found this text smeared across stock images of colorful autumn leaves. People extolled the reappearance of cozy sweaters and high school football games and pumpkin spice lattes, while parroting a line from a book they probably never bothered to read.

It’s a damn shame for two reasons. First, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote much more profound sentences, most of which do not receive mainstream social media attention. Second, if October gets all the praise, where does that leave November?

I’ll admit I’m no Fitzgerald expert. I read “The Great Gatsby” only after seeing Robert Redford get shot in the back, and I only picked up “This Side of Paradise” at my brother’s insistence. Nevertheless, I know that classic authors are not made by the sort of platitudes knitted on vegan handbags.

Fitzgerald’s best quotes, in my opinion, are matter-of-fact. In “The Great Gatsby,” he wrote a gem into a conversation between Jordan Baker and Nick Carraway. “And I like large parties,” Jordan said. “They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” Sounds contradictory, but it’s true.

Fitzgerald is credited with saying, “An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” This quote ought to be carved into marble tablets because avoiding exclamation points is a good rule of thumb in both journalistic and creative writing.

“The test of a first-rate intelligence,” Fitzgerald also said, “is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” A novel concept during election season.

Finally, he expressed the beauty and inclusiveness of literature. “You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

Though eloquent, none of Fitzgerald’s quotes explicitly mention November. What on earth will the masses tweet?

T.S. Eliot and the like characterize the month as “somber,” “damp,” “grim” and “drizzly.” I’ll agree it can seem dismal at first, when daylight savings time ends. In general, though, I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. November boasts Thanksgiving, a holiday that not only accepts, but encourages eating until you feel sick and bloated.

God bless America.

With Thanksgiving come film releases. The king kahuna of movie premieres, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” falls just before my birthday on the 23rd. I’m undoubtedly going to wear a manic, Jack Nicholson-y grin that entire week. I’ll also use lots of exclamation points because I will, in fact, be laughing at my own jokes.

Hockey season is in full swing. Exciting things are happening in the world of basketball – or so a cursory glance at espn.com told me. Same goes for college football. I think.

And November is National Peanut Butter Month. What’s not to love?

 

 

APRIL SHERNISKY

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