When the initial sales of his mediocre book The Great Gatsby failed to meet expectations, Fitzgerald expressed his disappointment in a letter to his editor, Max Perkins. In the letter, he decried the trend at the time of honoring the so-called “American peasant.” Wrote Fitzgerald:
Some day they’ll eat grass, by God! This thing, both the effort and the result have hardened me and I think now that I’m much better than any of the young Americans without exception.
Do you notice the barely-concealed contempt for grassy cuisine? He went on, however, to declare that:
There’s no point in being an artist if you can’t do your best.
I can’t disagree there, although, on the whole, I dare say I give better advice to young artists. For example, I was the first to utter the now-ubiquitous commonplace, never wipe your hindquarters with bark. That was me.
For that little gem and innumerable others, follow me on the Tweeter at @City_Sasquatch
(Notes on F. Scott from the laudable biography by Andrew Turnbull)