Archives for category: F. Scott Fitzgerald

by james (w) moore

I was
a house on fire
the peninsula blazing with
thin glints Turning
it was lit
it was wild
all the sound
blew the wires and made the lights go
he winked
toward me
like the World’s Fair,
eyes absent.
to some,
too late.
we take a plunge
I said
“I don’t want to put you to
any trouble.”
“I don’t want
to put you to any trouble, you see.”
the day     to-morrow         a moment
with reluctance:
We both looked
ragged ended and darker

Copyright james (w) moore, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: james w. moore is a writer of poetry, plays, and short stories. his poetry has appeared in the Found Poetry Review, the Silver Birch Press Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology, the Houston Chronicle and on Vermont Edition. five of his full-length plays have received world premieres, including original works such as cart (which American Theatre magazine called “a wonderfully surreal comedy”), and adaptations of Robin Hood and Rapunzel for the Northwest Children’s Theater. he was twice awarded residencies at Caldera Arts, and his one act play Ubu’s Last Krapp was featured as part of the End of the Pavement series. his work has been performed in Chicago (SOLO Festival), Seattle (On the Boards), Portland (Oregon—PICA’s TBA Festival and JAW), and in Burlington, Vermont. he currently lives and creates in Winooski, Vermont. his latest release is  I am the Maker of all sweetened possum: found poetry in Scarlet Sister Mary available at


The Silver Birch Press blog often features posts about favorite author F. Scott Fitzgerald, so we were excited to dive into a whimsical new novel from John Stacy called The Ghost of F. Scott Fitzgerald — a fun, fast read where Fitzgerald’s ghost revivifies in the West Hollywood apartment at 1443 N. Hayworth where he met his untimely end at age 44 on December 21, 1940.


Set in the present, Fitzgerald starts to get his wind back when an author named Halle begins to write the latest volume in her Audrey McLane mystery series on the author’s ancient Smith Corona typewriter, which has  been in the building’s basement for over 70 years. Fitzgerald reveals himself to Halle by degrees — until he’s as hale and hearty as he was in his Princeton days, and soon finds himself at home in his corporeal form — eating tuna sandwiches, drinking gin, and smoking cigarettes — and picking up where he left off on his unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon.

John Stacy suspends the reader’s disbelief at this improbable scenario with a clever device — mystery author Halle envisions all of her characters in vivid detail, conversing and interacting with them at length. So when Fitzgerald reveals himself, she at first thinks he’s a character in her new book. Bit by bit, she learns that her new roommate is a ghost — and by that time she’s smitten with him and hooked on his writing tips.

The book is filled with allusions to incidents from Fitzgerald’s life and includes more than a few of the writer’s bon mots. John Stacy knows his subject — and has a lot of fun in this homage to an author he clearly venerates. As I read the book, it occurred me that the story would also work as a stage piece.

Find out what happens to Scott and Halle by picking up a copy of The Ghost of F. Scott Fitzgerald by John Stacy at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Stacy is an author and retired teacher of literature. He holds graduate degrees from California State University Long Beach, The University of Southern California, and The University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Barstow Bones: A Murder Mystery, and Unwired Girl, a young-adult fantasy.

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

It was Christmas Eve in the studio. By eleven o’clock in the morning, Santa Claus had called on most of the huge population according to each one’s deserts.

Sumptuous gifts from producers to stars, and from agents to producers arrived at offices and studio bungalows: on every stage one heard of the roguish gifts of casts to directors or directors to casts; champagne had gone out from publicity office to the press. And tips of fifties, tens and fives from producers, directors and writers fell like manna upon the white-collar class.

In this sort of transaction there were exceptions. Pat Hobby, for example, who knew the game from twenty years’ experience, had had the idea of getting rid of his secretary the day before. They were sending over a new one any minute — but she would scarcely expect a present the first day.

Waiting for her, he walked the corridor, glancing into open offices for signs of life. He stopped to chat with Joe Hopper from the scenario department.

“Not like the old days,” he mourned. “Then there was a bottle on every desk.”

“There’re a few around.”

“Not many.” Pat sighed. “And afterwards we’d run a picture — made up out of cutting-room scraps.”

“I’ve heard. All the suppressed stuff,” said Hopper.

Pat nodded, his eyes glistening.

“Oh, it was juicy. You darned near ripped your guts laughing –”

He broke off as the sight of a woman, pad in hand, entering his office down the hall recalled him to the sorry present.

“Gooddorf has me working over the holiday,” he complained bitterly.

“I wouldn’t do it.”

“I wouldn’t either except my four weeks are up next Friday, and if I bucked him he wouldn’t extend me.”

As he turned away, Hopper knew that Pat was not being extended anyhow. He had been hired to script an old-fashioned horse opera, and the boys who were “writing behind him” — that is, working over his stuff — said that all of it was old and some didn’t make sense.

“I’m Miss Kagle,” said Pat’s new secretary.

She was about thirty-six, handsome, faded, tired, efficient. She went to the typewriter, examined it, sat down and burst into sobs.

Pat started. Self-control, from below anyhow, was the rule around here. Wasn’t it bad enough to be working on Christmas Eve? Well — less bad than not working at all. He walked over and shut the door — someone might suspect him of insulting the girl.

“Cheer up,” he advised her. “This is Christmas…”


The Pat Hobby Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald are available at

Though they were close friends and lived in Paris at the same time during the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald never had their photo taken together, but here’s the next best thing — the novelists are two of the ten writers that grace “Heritage” trading cards issued in 2009 by Topps, a company famous for its baseball cards. The reverse side of each card includes stats about the author, a mini bio, and a literature quiz.

Other writers in the series include Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorn, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Henry David Thoreau.

CARDS: Courtesy of Paul Nebenzahl, whose poetry appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology (June 2013).


In an article about what inspired her novel, Debt, author Rachel Carey mentions Charles Dickens‘ novels, including Bleak House. Many other authors have cited Bleak House as an inspiration — F. Scott Fitzgerald called it “Dickens’ best novel.” 

In an essay featured in Lectures on Literature, the notoriously critical Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) — the Wellesley and Cornell professor best known as author of Lolita — praises Bleak House from every direction, but mainly focuses on the novel’s atmosphere, which Nabokov views as a character in the book. He also lauds the unusual narration techniques — an omniscient third-person narrator alternating with a first person narrator (a young woman named Esther Summerson — the only female narrator in the Dickens canon).

All we have to do when reading Bleak House is to relax and let our spines take over. Although we read with our minds, the seat of artistic delight is between the shoulder blades. That little shiver is quite certainly the highest form of emotion that humanity has attained when evolving pure art and pure science. Let us worship the spine and its tingle.”


An excellent online version of Bleak House by Charles Dickens, in an easy-to-read, attractive format, is available from Pennsylvania State University here.  

ImageDear F:

…Let me begin by saying that “The Great Gatsby” is not the worst novel I have ever read. It is also not the best novel I have ever read. It is, however, the first novel I have ever read. And there are, like, many, many things in the book I found confusing. Like W.T.F. was that green light? Is that supposed to give him superpowers, like the Green Lantern? Also, I really did not get this part at the end: “So we beat on, boats against the current.” So, like, everybody turns into boats? Like Transformers? If so, that was the first interesting thing that happened in the entire book, and it was in the last sentence.

For these reasons, F., I am afraid “The Great Gatsby” does not meet our needs at the present time. What would meet our needs at the present time would be a young-adult trilogy with movie potential. Right before she left for Cote d’Azur, Charlotte said to me, “Pandora, find me the next ‘Twilight’ or ‘Hunger Games.’ ” Charlotte has never forgiven herself for passing on both “Twilight” and “Hunger Games” while paying two million dollars for a book of poetry by Todd Palin. LMAO.

Now I’ve got to get back to that slush pile. The next manuscript I have to read is called “Moby-Dick.” Fingers crossed, but based on that title, I think it could be the next “Fifty Shades of Grey”!

Andy Borowitz

Note: This rejection letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald appeared on the New Yorker website in an article dated October 4, 2012. Find the article at this linkAndy Borowitz wrote the piece for the Author’s Guild Centennial Benefit, June 4, 2012.

Painting: Maralyn Wilson, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


He reached the end of Vine Street and began the climb into Pinyon Canyon. Night had started to fall. The edges of the trees burned with a pale violet light and their centers gradually turned from deep purple to black. The same violet piping, like a Neon tube, outlined the top of the ugly, hump-backed hills and they were almost beautiful.” Excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

October 17, 2013 marks the 110th anniversary of the birth of Nathanael West, author of the 1939 novel The Day of the Locusta biting depiction of Hollywood, the movie business, and life in Los Angeles.

West, like his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald, was working as a screenwriter in 1940 — the year that marked the end to both men’s lives. Fitzgerald dropped dead of a heart attack at age 44 on December 21, 1940 at an apartment in near Sunset and LaCienega. West and his wife died the following day in an auto accident — when some believe they were on their way to a memorial service for Fitzgerald. During his four years in Los Angeles, West wrote over a dozen screenplays.

Photo: Tobysx70, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find more work here.


A Boston-based costume website advises would-be customers to “Capture the Great Gatsby Era.” While revelers in other cities are dressing up as ghouls, zombies, witches, and Honey Boo Boo, Bostonians are celebrating Halloween by dressing as Jay Gatsby, Tom and Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, and Nick CarrawayTrès elegant…


“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (1896-1940)


I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light a the end of Daisy’s dock…Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning –” F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, The Great Gatsby (final lines)

Read The Great Gatsby for free! The novel is in the public domain in Australia and is available at Happy reading!

Photo: Thorsten Shier