“Writers aren’t people exactly.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

When I was in college I went through a period when all I read was Fitzgerald. I’d forgotten how much I loved the glimmer and precision of his prose, until I picked up a copy of The Love of the Last Tycoon: A Western, the novel he was writing when he died in Hollywood. At the time he was shoveling his way out of debt by working for the studios — in a system he deeply resented — though it paid exceedingly well.

I took the quote out of context, in context it packs even more of wallop.

The novel is told from the perspective of Cecelia Brady, a young woman of 25 who was raised, the privileged child of a producer, in Hollywood.

“It was my first inkling that he was a writer. And while I like writers — because if you ask a writer anything you usually get an answer — still it belittled him in my eyes. Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they are any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person. It’s like actors, who try so pathetically not to look in mirrors. Who lean backward trying — only to see their faces in the reflecting chandeliers.”

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