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Friday, June 14, 2013

27

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Advice for Daughter Scottie

In 1933, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a letter to his 11-year-old daughter Scottie – whose mother Zelda is rumored to have said, like Daisy Buchanan, that she hoped her daughter would be a "beautiful little fool" – and ended it with a list of things to worry about, not worry about, and think about.

Fitzgerald's things to worry about are short: courage, cleanliness, efficiency, horsemanship. And then:

Things not to worry about:

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
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Don't worry about the past, the future, or mosquitoes/flies/insects in general. Either Fitzgerald was writing this in the midst of a cicada swarm or Scottie was deathly afraid of bugs. Also: Scottie.

27 Comments / Post A Comment

Lucienne

In defense of the Fitzgeralds, and only because they did enough crazy/stupid things that we surely don't have to go looking for extras, "Scottie" was a nickname.

Her real name was Frances Scott, though, so.

I Want To Go To There

@Lucienne but scottie.... is so adorable

sunflowers

I love everything F. Scott Fitzgerald ever wrote to Scottie, especially this letter. I also sort of wish someone would make it into a song. But anyway, I should probably have this part somewhere where I'll see it every day:

"Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up"

Drawn7979

@sunflowers
i love them too!

Heat Signature

I assume that the "horsemanship" part was a joke.

Nadia@twitter

don't worry about life in general

fondue with cheddar

@Nadia@twitter ...and, "be happy," a wise man once said.

queenofbithynia

Everywhere I go [1] I want to point out that the only source for Zelda Fitzgerald having said the beautiful little fool thing is her own husband, who also reports her having said "Mark Twain" as she came out of the same anesthesia stupor. and yet nobody talks about her iconic wish that her daughter grow up to be a great satirist with a proud mustache, the only other safe way for a woman to be happy in this world.

[1] as in, into conversations that have nothing to do with Zelda or Scott Fitzgerand in any way.

LilRedCorvette

@queenofbithynia I like to remind people that Zelda Fitzgerald DIED IN A FIRE (the conversation goes something like this: "I really thought Luhrmann captured the decadence and glamour of the--" "ZELDA FITZGERALD DIED IN A FIRE" or "Oh, Midnight in Paris was so--" "ZELDA FITZGERALD DIED IN A FIRE"), but maybe I should start using the mustache quote instead...

sophia_h

@queenofbithynia I'm reading "Tender is the Night" for the first time right now, and every line is like "BEING ZELDA FITZGERALD SUCKED," even when he's also saying "BEING MARRIED TO HER FREQUENTLY SUCKED." Life before psychiatric medication, holy shit.

Amphora

@LilRedCorvette Last week I saw a play about the (real) meeting of Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald for tea and fire was a big theme (it was a pretty good play but it totally included the "beautiful little fool" line). At one point towards the end Zelda locks herself in the bathroom and sets her clothes on fire in the tub. And then at the end they tell you she died in a fire, locked in the attic of the hospital/asylum.

It also included Edith Wharton making sex jokes.

faustbanana

@Amphora I saw that play last week too! A friend's co-worker is the playwright. The Henry James-Edith Wharton relationship was particularly delightful.

han
han

@faustbanana What play is this?!

Amphora

@faustbanana So funny, even if the facts were a little speculative
@han It was called Tea with Edie and Fitz, showing in Chicago as part of the Dead Writers Theatre Collective. And yeah, kind of how I always imagined Henry James and Edith Wharton (loved his affected English accent! and the actor looked a little like the guy in Despicable Me)

Linette

@queenofbithynia I would like more stories about F. Scott and Zelda and compatriots and am therefore getting the hell on this thread.

dontannoyme

I don't worry about any of his "to worry about" list. Should I worry about that?

fondue with cheddar

@dontannoyme No, I think it means you are a perfect human. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Edited: Oh, wait...I misread that and thought you were talking about the other list. I don't worry about those things either. Maybe we should worry about that.

Roxanne Rholes

My mother recently wrote me an email list of things she WAS worried about, in regards to the four baby bluebirds she had just raised and set free. The list includes, as separate entries, "hawks," "cats," and "all other kinds of predators." Also: "being bullied" and "fireworks."

iceberg

@Roxanne Rholes Being bullied! *sniff* awwww.

fondue with cheddar

@Roxanne Rholes Aww. Dude, point me at the people who bully your mom. I will kick their asses. You don't bully nice moms and get away with it!

Roxanne Rholes

@iceberg It ended with "et cetera into infinity." I have no idea how this woman was ever capable of raising a human child.

iceberg

@Roxanne Rholes Oh worrying is an integral part of the mothering process. That and guilt are like 80%, the remaining 20% is like, providing apple juice and kissing owies better.

MandyMcAwesome

So, basically, don't be a woman? Cause I worry about all that shit and more.

tea sonata

Where is my worry switch? How do I disconnect it?

Amphora

@tea sonata Don't worry about forgetting to take your anxiety pills OH WAIT

Valley Girl

Needs "Doll News" tag

yak11

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