Thoughts

Amazon Prime original series explores life of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald

If I could create a decade as glitzy and glamorous as the 1920s and omit the z-the-beginning-of-everythingoppression of women and minorities and the economic crash soon thereafter—I would. I love the idea of the ‘20s. Well, I love “The Great Gatsby” idea of the ‘20s.

When I first read “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, I was enthralled. It quickly became one of my favorite books. When the film was released, I couldn’t have been happier with Leo DiCaprio’s performance. So when advertisements for “Z: The Beginning of Everything” began popping up on my Facebook, I couldn’t resist being drawn in.

The Amazon Prime original series isn’t a re-hash of “The Great Gatsby.” It’s the story of F. Scott Fitzgerald, played by David Hoflin, and Zelda Sayre, played by Christina Ricci. Zelda, Fitzgerald’s wife, greatly influenced his writing. And as much as I love Fitzgerald, I think I love Zelda more. She’s noted for being wild and outspoken; Fitzgerald dubbed her “the first flapper.” She wrote extensively in her journals, and much of that writing inspired Fitzgerald; although inspired may be a gentle word. Fitzgerald used direct quotes from her journal without her consent on a number of occasions.

The name of the show comes from a Fitzgerald quote: “I love her, and that’s the beginning and the end of everything.” He might be a bit prophetic in his statement. The pair’s tumultuous romance was marked with overindulgence, booze, and passionate arguments. But the show begins, well, at the beginning. The pilot episode, released Nov. 3, 2015, explores Zelda and Scott’s first meeting, Zelda’s relationship with her family, and her carefree attitude. She fights with her father, dances with many different men, and does as she damn well pleases. Ricci’s performance is spot on.

Zelda is—in my eyes—a total feminist badass. She is the embodiment of independence and boldness. She is uniquely herself and will not apologize for it. I admire that.

Amazon will release the full first season of “Z: The Beginning of Everything” Jan. 27, and if you are at all a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work, I highly recommend you watch it.

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Poetry

The Roaring Twenties

The smoke rises through the air

And the night is just beginning.

The bartender fills up my mug

The charming young man picks up my tab.

Music floods through the scent of cigars

As the piano man strikes his first chord.

The speakeasy sways with the sound of the dancing

            Left

                                                            Then right

            Left again

                        Twirling girls

            Twirling girls

                        Twirling girls

                                    Twirling girls

Their vivid dresses mock cherries, emeralds and ocean tides

            With specks of gold and silver

That charming young man has returned

His dark hair slicked back to show his ice blue eyes. 

He extends his hand and nods to the dance floor

I smirk.

My cigarette holder finds a home on the bar.

Taking his hand we dance.

My dress embodies the night sky that we hide from in this illegal place.

It’s dark colors swish and sway with the beat as my feet tap around his.

The gems surrounding the collar and chest reflect the light perfectly so that all eyes watch Us.

We are the bee’s knees. The cat’s meow.

Our bodies move through the Charleston,

Then the Shimmy,

Then the Bunny Hug.

Dance. Dance. Dance.

The night is ending soon, however.

The sun will rise within a few hours.

The piano man slows his fingers.

The speakeasy empties slowly

The charming young man wraps his jacket around me

We walk to his home under the twinkling starlight

Followed by the sweet cigar smell

The music still ringing in our ears