You’re not a REAL Gatsby fan unless you’ve read the book. Unless you’ve read every Fitzgerald book. Unless you’ve read their early drafts, mailed to you by Fitzgerald himself. Unless you first read Gatsby when Scott handed it to you in a Parisian bar in 1925, apologising for the cover when he saw you disapproved. Unless you embarked on an intense friendship with him that culminated in rumours that you two were having a clandestine homosexual affair. Unless you once took him to the Louvre so you could prove to him that his penis wasn’t any smaller than those on the statues there. Unless Scott turned up, drunk and uninvited, at your house so many times that you had to move more than once. Unless you continued to exchange increasingly infrequent and terse letters with him for the rest of his life, then missed his funeral because you were in Cuba. Unless you called his literary talent “as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings” and won a Nobel prize and wrote For Whom The Bell Tolls. That’s right, you poser, if you’re not Ernest Hemingway you can fuck straight off right now. We’re on to you.
The slope beneath descending to the water.
Some mornings it is vibrant with the glance
Of sunlight brightened on the little waves
The wind drives shoreward, stirring leaves and branches
Over the roof also. It is a room
Of pictures and of memories of some
Who are no more in time, and of the absent
And of the present the unresting thoughts.
It is a room as timely as the body,
As frail, to shelter love’s eternal work,
Always unfinished, here at water’s edge,
The work of beauty, faith, and gratitude
Eternally alive in time. Around
The walls the trees like waves, like men,
Come up, come up, expend themselves, and die.
The water shines back the unending sky."
— Wendell Berry, from section V of “Sabbaths 2004” in Given: Poems (CounterPoint, 2006