Monday, August 15, 2016

The Return of Jay Gatsby

Sidetracked again.  I suppose the time has come for me to consider the pile of want-to-read books simple suggestions, rather than as a plan.  That relieves me of the weekly task of looking at the pile and arranging and rearranging based on my mood, the time of year, customer suggestion or super cool cover art.  Letting books subtly slip into my psyche, or just blatantly hitting me on the head to be read will be my new approach.  For now.

On Saturday, the Masques, our long lived community theatre group sent me info on their 2016-17 season featuring "Company," "Arsenic and Old Lace" and "The Great Gatsby".  You can tell from the picture at the top where this led me.  The first and only time I read that book was in high school, when some altruistic, well-meaning new lit teacher attempted to get us middle America kids to embrace the story of Nick, Jay and Daisy.  Vaguely I recall parroting some lecture facts back to her on an essay exam (she was fond of essays), but realistically, this book had nothing I could relate to no any characters I understood.  Then, of course there was the challenge of the historic context.

Many things made sense to me as I read it this weekend, including why my bright eyed teacher thought it would be a good idea to put it in our hands.  In less than 200 pages, Fitzgerald hits all the right notes, and had I been ready examine those notes, maybe I would have actually read the book and not have flunked the unit test. But heck, at 16 I was not in tune to elegant language, nor did I comprehend the depth and significance of the symbolism throughout.  Oh, maybe I picked up on the billboard, the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckelberg  watching ominously over the city, but I sure didn't pick up on the ideas that the artwork had been uncared for, suggesting that the American Dream had fallen into ruin.  

Reading this, I began to visualize the wonderful time Masquers will have with this production.  Crafting the lavish, art deco setting, along with costumes befitting both the old money and the nouveau riche of 1925 will challenge our local designers, but they have proven many times over they are up to the task.  I can hardly wait to see the characters moving about what is sure to be a edgy lighting plot.  In my mind I have cast the show...I wonder how close I will be?  Sadly, this show isn't until spring, so I will practise patience.

I will also practise looking at my book pile, patting the top book, tossing off a "harrumph" like sound...and moving on.  No adjustments.  I will wait for next week's book to fall from the sky, but first I have to finish The Museum of Extraordinary Things for our book discussion on Friday...that is unless I get sidetracked.

By the way, never noticed this before...If you look closely at the most frequently used Gatsby cover - the one with the eyes and will see people in the pupil of each eye.  I suppose my sophomore English teacher pointed that out to us, but who had time to be bothered with that when great novels like Love Story was begging to be read?

Thanks for stopping by.