Inspired by absolutely nothing other than the fact that F. Scott Fitzgerald relics are always a joy to read, I recently went on an Internet rabbit hole of past letters he’s written.
Pen to paper is becoming such a novelty these days that I get a stupid joy in reading handwritten correspondences from a time when it wasn’t just the polite or quaint way to do things, but the only way to do things. Take, for example, Fitzgerald’s letters back and forth with his editor of This Side of Paradise. Today that would be done via email.
Hate mail was even, in some strange way, classier “back then.” When a disgruntled reader mailed Fitzgerald his thoughts, our man in question had time to draft a thoughtful response back. Take that, Bob! (One could counter that it’s easier than ever to respond to rude anonymous commenters in this online age, but something about a comment that says, “This sucks and you’re ugly,” hardly evokes anything more thoughtful than a middle finger.
But my favorite letter of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s that I read is one that tends to make the rounds closer to father’s day. It’s a 1933 letter to his 11-year-old daughter Scottie that for some reason, following the tails of Tom Ford’s tough love and fantastic advice, seemed just right. Read the full list here, and my favorite excerpt below:
“Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph”
In fact, it’s almost the weekend. Don’t worry about anything.
[...5 Letters of Fatherly Advice from History's Greatest Public Dads], Image via Flavorwire, Homepage image via Not So Noble Books