The most beautiful thing about English is that it has a way to bring you all those wonderful works of wonderfully beautiful minds crossing the boundaries of culture, country and prejudice ! F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘A Life in Letters’ is such an example of brutally honest yet profoundly meaningful collection of writing. I wish I could have read it in high school. Yet, here I am.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s endearing letter to his daughter touches you instantly. There are few things about the world that you want to tell everyone as soon as you understand them. This is no different …..
August 8, 1933
I feel very strongly about you doing duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy — but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed pages, they never really happen to you in life.
All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare’s in which the line occurs “Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”
Have had no thoughts today, life seems composed of getting up a Saturday Evening Post story. I think of you, and always pleasantly; but if you call me “Pappy” again I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?
I will arrange the camp bill.
Halfwit, I will conclude.
Things to worry about:
Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about. . .
Things not to worry about:
Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions
Things to think about:
What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?
With dearest love,
P.S. My come-back to your calling me Pappy is christening you by the word Egg, which implies that you belong to a very rudimentary state of life and that I could break you up and crack you open at my will and I think it would be a word that would hang on if I ever told it to your contemporaries. “Egg Fitzgerald.” How would you like that to go through life with — “Eggie Fitzgerald” or “Bad Egg Fitzgerald” or any form that might occur to fertile minds? Try it once more and I swear to God I will hang it on you and it will be up to you to shake it off. Why borrow trouble?
Every time you want to question the reason to keep on playing, ridiculousness follows !
The tumultuous beginnings may chase you, uncertainty in making your path known might be unsettling, Yet, somehow the inner struggle will not let you leave even after every expectation, Ridiculousness follows !
Look beyond, the fast pace events occurring around you, every experience wants to teach you something, bluntness of emotions will make you feel mortal, it will pass and ridiculousness will follow !
The agony is a part of it, ‘Nothing will ever make sense’ is the fear eating you every day, still, little joyous moments which never meant to be important are your fellow travelers in trouble…It has always followed with ridiculousness!
Happiest you have ever been, short lived memories of it will make you growl in time to come, Memories and the ephemeral joy from it will serve you rather well in the ridiculousness of this journey.
Finally, a moment where a move will make it or break it, More often than not, will break your perseverance! but, few times among many, Ohh My ! will win over this absurdity ….
Absurdity of this raw emotion is ridiculously liberating … All other lost attempts will be counted as Null ! cause every other attempt demands a new level ridiculousness to be followed and chewed upon …This is how it will be all over again, When the next game of almighty Chess will played, I will be ready for your challenge hoping in return, THIS time it will be different… And the ridiculousness of it will follow as always !