You Don’t Call, You Don’t Write…

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

  • The sad thing is, it’s rare for people to be able to even communicate effectively these days. Future generations won’t write love letters or funny notes to their BFF’s… Now it’s all about the OMG SELFIE! #LOLZ
    Does social media cause us to live superficial lives, where we can’t have intelligent coversations anymore?

    • That’s an interesting argument, but I think a lot of people use social media to have intelligent conversations! I mean, look at the massive paragraphs that people write on this here Disqus on topics that span from writing to feminism to shoes to anything!
      Maybe it is because I am 17 and thus have grown up largely under the influence of the internet, but I would actually argue that it has helped a group of people in my age range actually gain more access to “intellectual” things if they wish, because of the relative ease of access in this medium.
      I would agree with you on the whole love letters thing, etc. There is certainly less of that but I think it could make a resurgence like a lot of other antiquated devices. For one, film cameras are coming back into style/use, along with listening to records. So maybe the writing of love letters or fun notes to friends will become a sort of novel activity not unlike using “filmies” and listening to today’s bands on LP.

  • Kathleen

    History’s Greatest Pubic Dads???

  • Sunday Scaries

    Girl, you’re pulling at my heart strings.

  • Zooey

    My favorite !!!!!!