1. AOTW: The tailgater who followed me for a half-dozen miles the other day, thinking, I guess, that his proximity would urge me to go faster than I was (5 mph above the speed limit). He was wrong. As AOTWs invariably are.
2. I finished just one book this week--a longish one: I'd Die for You and Other Lost Stories, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Scribner, 2017). Edited by noted Fitzgerald scholar Anne Margaret Daniel ... I just got a little rush, thinking of actress Ann-Margaret & Daniel! ... the volume is not really full of "lost" stories--just, mostly, stories that FSF and his agent (Harold Ober) failed to place in any magazine. A couple were published later on--even recently--by guilty magazines, like the New Yorker, which in 2012 ran a FSF story it had rejected in 1936!
FSF was writing stories furiously to deal with his expenses, the most prominent of which were those relating to the institutionalization of his wife, Zelda (who would die in a fire at the place in North Carolina where she was staying: March 10, 1948.) FSF had died at 44, heart attack, on December 21, 1940.
Anyway, I'm sad to report that most of these stories are pretty ordinary--even bad--and to one extent or another deserved their fates. FSF would probably not be all that thrilled about seeing them in print, but I'm glad they are. It's nice to have them, to see how a fine writer doesn't always write fine things (Mickey Mantle struck out a lot), and how some of the ideas that appear so artfully in other stories appear not-so-artfully in these.
The editor begins each story with some notes about its history and status--when he wrote it, who rejected it (and why, in most cases), and who owns the story now (most are the intellectual property of the FSF estate).
There are a few lines I liked (and some flashes of that old FSF use of color).
- "Love is a sure thing--it takes a living man to love" (16).
- "The girl hung around under the pink sky waiting for something to happen" (41).
- "His reasoning came to wreck on the single rock that he did not love her" (105).
But there is precious little of this. Instead, there are implausible plots, ridiculous coincidences, failures of all sorts.
But--hey!--it's Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald! Gotta read it, right?
3. We've found yet another mystery series to stream--this an Australian series called The Doctor Blake Mysteries. Blake is the son of the former doctor in town (deceased) and has some "daddy issues" to deal with. But he's sort of a combination of Doc Martin and Sherlock. Plus a nosy neighbor. I love his relationships with the other cast members--especially his housekeeper. Between him and her is ... something ... We'll see. (We've seen only two complete episodes.)
4. On Saturday night we went out to Montrose to see Beatriz at Dinner, an independent film that looked interesting. It was about an immigrant woman (from Mexico--Salma Hayek) who learns assorted therapies to help cancer patients and others; she's an earth-lover, a friend of animals (a vegetarian), and she has greatly helped the daughter of a very wealthy family and, as a result, has become "friends" with the mother, who is so grateful for what she's done. She goes out to their mansion now and then to give massages to Mom. Well ... one day ... the day of an important business/related dinner at the mansion she goes to deliver a massage, but her car breaks down, so the mom invites her stay for dinner. Mistake. It's a gross kind of businessman thingy, and from there, I thought, the film tumbled downhill. Virtually every character is a cliche, a cut-out, and the script was so inadequate for the talents of those involved (e.g., John Lithgow). I thought it pretty much trivialized some very important issues by reducing them to platitudes and silly confrontations. Oh well. Better than Rough Night, which I saw last week! (Link to trailer for Beatriz at Dinner.) And too bad: I really wanted to like it ...
5. A Final Word--a word this week I liked from my various online word-of-the-day suppliers.
- from wordsmith.org
verb tr., intr.: To oppose, resist, or fight.
From Old French repugner, from Latin repugnare, from re- (again) + pugnare (to fight), from pugnus (fist). Ultimately from the Indo-European root peuk- (to prick) which is also the source of point, puncture, pungent, punctual, poignant, pounce, poniard, impugn, pugilist, and pugnacious. Earliest documented use: 1382.
“[A] decadence that Elgar would have repugned.”
Douglas Sealy; Katherine Hunka (violin), Sophia Rahman (piano); Irish Times (Dublin, Ireland); Jan 24, 2001.