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Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Smile

"I'm Gatsby," he said suddenly.
"What!" I exclaimed.  "Oh, I beg your pardon."
"I thought you knew, old sport.  I'm afraid I'm not a very good host."
He smiled understandingly – much more than understandingly.  It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in a life.  It faced – or seemed to face-the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.  It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey."  --F. Scott Fitzgerald.  "The Great Gatsby."
Wow, about a paragraph to describe a smile, and if you have ever had the privilege to see a smile like this, then you know exactly what he is talking about.  You don't get your first glimpse of Gatsby until Chapter three, and yet with a glimpse you can tell what kind of charm and charisma Gatsby has.
It's this kind of writing that makes me ashamed as an author, but also explains why F. Scott Fitzgerald's book is considered a classic.  Copyrighted in 1925 and at a used book store the paperback still cost me $6.99, two dollars more than my newest masterpiece E-published fifteen days ago.  I pray that I attain this level of writing skill someday.  The artistic weaving of words and descriptions which describes enough that you can see the images as clearly as if you were there, but so delicately that the words drip from lips and compel you to read on.  A story so subtle it reaches into you and grabs your soul before you even knew it was close to you.
I am obviously reading "The Great Gatsby."  My daughter went with the rest of the family to lunch at a very nice Italian café in Kansas City, and then we dropped by a used second hand book store which was around the corner.  I was cajoling my daughter about not reading my first book and how I was in the process of publishing my second.  She quipped back with, have you read the "The Great Gatsby" yet.  I said I hadn't so while we were at the used book store she found me a copy of it to buy, and agreed if I read the book she would read mine.
She is a very wise and sharp girl.  I am definitely reading the better of the two books.  I am also learning and studying as I slowly devour each page, how one of the Greats, expertly used these silly little building blocks called words and built a monument!


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