Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Greatest

It's been a long time, and for that I apologize. I mean to catch up with blog networking, honestly, but I actually have been blogging my brains out for work the last few weeks (more on that in an upcoming post).  I will be leaving soon for Orlando (business trip) but I wanted to make sure and get this post out there in case people happen to check in once a month to see if I am still here. 

I meant to write this post a few weeks ago when The Great Gatsby finally came out in theaters, but I think sometimes it is best to really let a piece of writing marinade in your mind for a while before you commit it to paper/blog. 

I had been anticipating this film for so long, and when it was over I was left with an uneasiness.The next day it was like waking up and wondering if the Gatsby film had indeed really happened or if it was some magnificent dream. But perhaps that's the hangover we get when we build something up for so long; when we wait and wait and wait only to realize that one day that thing we have waited for had to end eventually. 

But what the film really made me realize was that we can build people up too. We can waste so much energy on waiting for others to "be the one" or meet certain expectations; we can make someone out to be the greatest, when maybe, they fall short, or worse, they are just a regular human being. When I finished both the Gatsby book and film I wondered if Gatsby was real. We only see the Gatsby Nick believes to be real and it is not until Fitzgerald rudely reminds us of his mortality that we are brought back down to earth. But even so, Nick has already immortalized Gatsby for all of us. And no matter how untrue or exaggerated, we choose to think of Gatsby in a certain way -- beautiful shirts and all. We are all haunted by the greatness that once was such a man and the greatness that could have been, had his life not been cut short.

So what makes a person great? This is a question  have been struggling with a lot since the film. It is so hard to answer because it is so subjective. Other people have been wondering, I'm sure, what makes a story great too. Why has this particular novel been assigned to students over the years and why do companies like Kate Spade and Out of Print immortalize it through clothing and accessories? And I can only answer that from a personal angle as well. I believe we all have our Jay Gatsbys. We all want to believe in something or someone so badly that regardless of how often our Creator tries to remind us that we are all mere mortals, we refuse to believe it. We need those larger than life icons to look up to; to give us a standard with which to measure our wealth and happiness against. But moreover, we need someone else to distract us from looking inward, from focusing on our own issues and problems. It is always easier to write a fiction about someone else than it is to write truthfully about yourself. 

In trying to dissect my anticipation for this film I have realized that Fitzgerald's tale has always been an example of what I considered to be "great writing." It is a story I always measure mine against. And looking at Fitzgerald's life, I often considered his life to be great as well. But the truth is that eternal greatness can flicker. I know Fitzgerald's life was not easy but he consistently wrote. I feel he has earned his greatness and I would hope that people continue to appreciate his work so that his legacy may never burn out. But really these are selfish wants. I want people to continue to read writing because I write. I want people to turn my favorite books into movies because I have read them. And although I am feeling quite burnt out, I want to keep going; I want to not be forgotten. Sometimes the greatest people in our lives are the ones we have never personally met. Sometimes the greatest thing we can do is never forget. Sometimes the greatest thing we can write is the thought we have been avoiding committing to paper. 

I went to visit the Gatsby display at Tiffany & Co. this past weekend. And while the jewelry was remarkable, it all made me so sad. I started to feel like I would never really belong at Tiffany's; like I would never be able to afford anything from its windows. It all seemed so excessive. That's when I realized even the simplest of things can be the greatest. So while I didn't walk out of Tiffany & Co. with pearls or diamonds, I did walk away from the mall with a dark chocolate pop. And that was enough of an indulgence to satisfy my craving. Fitzgerald wrote stories for everyone of all classes to read and enjoy. He wrote so that even the most average of Joes could be transported into Jay Gatsby's world. He wrote to indulge in his own cravings, but also to satisfy ours as well. And that is the greatest gift of all. That is what I am trying to do here by finally committing these thoughts to this page. This post may not be the greatest thing I have written, but it has certainly satisfied a certain craving in my soul. Hoping you have the greatest of days ahead.

*You can read my official review of the film here 
** Above is The Great Gatsby book clutch by Kate Spade  and nail art inspired by the film done by the talented Jae'tte Burneo of Cosi Fan Tutte nail lounge in Laguna Beach.This Side of Paradise book and bag were given to me by my friend Andrew. I will be reading Paradise on the plane to Florida tomorrow.