“Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.” – Mark Twain
About a month ago, Baz Luhrman (the master mind behind the love-it-or-leave-it movie musical Moulin Rouge!) took a risk and embarked on an artistic journey as a director and brought F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel to the big screen. Naturally, Lurhman was greeted with praise and criticism alike, with individuals surprised by the accuracy the film held in reflection of the book to other fans disgusted with certain choices regarding the score and visionary aspects. Either way, the film made headlines and has done quite alright despite the mixed reviews.
The last time I really spent any time with Fitzgerald was my junior year, in a high school English class. I like to think we read the novel and then watched the film version with Robert Redford, but my memory is fuzzy and all I remember was the green light, a pair of ever watching eyes, and a frantic red head cutting her hands on a broken window pane. However, I also remember liking Fitzgerald more than most of the authors we had visited that year, and sitting out on the deck at home those early summer months reading This Side of Paradise, so naturally I was rather excited to see the new film.
I would love to sit and discuss the movie’s winning moments and debatable flaws, but I write for another reason.
I write on behalf of the individual that apparently didn’t realize The Great Gatsby was first, indeed, a book.
Make that individuals, actually.
Now, some may have a very good reason for not knowing that The Great Gatsby is indeed a book. Perhaps they are from developing country, or they are three years old, or they have literally been living under a rock for the past 80 years or so. Irregardless, this book is on every high school reading list for the summer or part of the core curriculum, so even for teenagers who are too busy to actually read the texts on the list should at least recognize that the titles are indeed pieces of literature.
Anyway, this got me thinking about classic works of literature, books in general, and writing, and how they are all connected. And how, as an aspiring writer (with a slight lack of discipline and frequent cases of writer’s block), I really should read more. Not just the classics, but books about subjects that interest me. I should just read for my overall human betterment, especially as a writer.
Not reading for a writer is like jumping into a race car with no knowledge of manual transmission. Not reading for a writer is like attempting to salsa before one has mastered the simple crawl. Reading is exercise for writers, strengthening us into better writers word by word. Reading is research and learning, not just about the world around one’s self but about one’s self.
So, my goal for this summer (among the many other goals and activities I have committed to) is to read more, so in essence, I can write more…and better.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” –Stephen King