At Large Text Message from San Francisco
posted by January 13 at 11:19 AMon
Walking down Valencia Street yesterday, I saw something in a storefront window. I stopped and read it. It happens to be something I’ve read dozens of times, maybe a hundred. It was photocopied from a book and enlarged into a huge sort of poster, the letters fuzzy and weird. It was the first paragraph of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s post-meltdown autobiographical essay “The Crack-Up.”
Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work—the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside—the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once. There is another sort of blow that comes from within—that you don’t feel until it’s too late to do anything about it, until you realize with finality that in some regard you will never be as good a man again. The first sort of breakage seems to happen quick—the second kind happens almost without your knowing it but is realized suddenly indeed.
Sorry I didn’t think to take a picture. This was in the window of this gallery. The person who just answered the phone there says it was part of a piece by the artist Adam McEwen. Everything you need to know about writing—and everything you need to know about life—is in that paragraph.