Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star"

Over winter break, I read a biography of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife. In the book there were many quotes from F. Scott Fitzgerald's books, and every single one I read thrilled me. I adored the way he wrote, and lapped up all these short groupings of sentences, these little snippets of his larger works. One of them in particular gave me goosebumps -- it was so perfect, and it was immediately transferred to my quote book.

From The Great Gatsby:

His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy's white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.

I borrowed The Great Gatsby from the library a few days ago, along with a couple Madeleine L'Engle books. Those were like candy; I'd read them before, and I gobbled them down quickly, waited a day, and then turned to my first F. Scott Fitzgerald work. I had known from the quotes that this was a book I would love; this was a book I would have to savour, read slowly, drinking in every last word. I just finished it tonight, loathe to have it be over. It was so beautiful, so perfect; F. Scott Fitzgerald is, to me, the John Singer Sargent of the literary world.

On the last afternoon before he went abroad, he sat with Daisy in his arms for a long, silent time. It was a cold fall day, with fire in the room and her cheeks flushed. Now and then she moved and he changed his arm a little, and once he kissed her dark shining hair. The afternoon had made them tranquil for a while, as if to give them a deep memory for the long parting the next day promised. They had never been closer in their month of love, nor communicated more profoundly one with another, than when she brushed silent lips against his coat's shoulder or when he touched the end of her fingers, gently, as though she were asleep.


Nik said...


You know, I read that book in my last lifetime, but I never appreciated it 'til now.... What an incredible gift he had -- I mean, I'm literally drooling.

Heh ... wonder what happened to my copy? 'Bout time I read it again....

djm said...

Hey hon!

Yeah, you should read it again! I was reading it surreptitiously in my health class yesterday (the lecture was nothing, really), when I found that passage (the second one I quoted here). I nearly hyperventilated, and hissed to the girl next to me, "KRISSSTEN! You have got to read this." (it's not like I was distracting her; she was listening to "Phantom of the Opera." Wow, we sound like slackers. But, see, there's a kid in the class who, every few class times, spends most of the time talking to the prof and so the prof doesn't really lecture...yesterday was one of those times.)

It's crazy, but I have hugged that book so many times. It's so amazingly real.

Anonymous said...

It sounds umm... sappy... ;-)


Anonymous said...

yay, Nej! Heh.


djm said...

not the whole book, nej, just the parts I posted, for I am in a sappy mood. always.