Les conseils de Scott Fitzgerald à sa fille

Un lien pour survivre Jeudi 10 avril 2014

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Qu'est-ce qui est vraiment important dans l'existence ? Et de quoi faut-il se moquer ? Réponse du grand écrivain, sous forme de lettre à sa fille.

 

En 1925, Francis Scott Fitzgerald n'a pas trente ans et ne se soucie de rien, si ce n'est de s'étourdir dans des fêtes sans limites et déclarer son amour à sa muse Zelda.

Il vient de publier Gatsby le magnifique. Le roman constitue une rentrée d'argent qui lui permet de continuer à mener grand train mais de cuite en cuite, il devient alcoolique. Zelda, elle, est pleine de lubies. Leur fille Scottie a 4 ans. En 1933, Francis Scott Fitzgerald en a 37.

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La fête est derrière et les cuites n'ont pas la même saveur. Zelda a perdu la tête et entend parler les fleurs. Fitzgerald ne roule pas sur l'or et débite nouvelle sur nouvelle pour payer les factures des cliniques où elle est internée.

 

Leur fille Frances a 11 ans. Alors qu'elle est en colonie de vacances, Fitzgerald lui écrit une lettre dans laquelle il liste les choses importantes et celles dont il faut se moquer au cours de l'existence.

 

 

 

Republiée par le New-York Times en 1958, cette lettre est le lien du jour du 7-9:

AUGUST 8, 1933
LA PAIX RODGERS' FORGE
TOWSON, MATYLAND

DEAR PIE:

I feel very strongly about you doing duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy-- but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed page, they never really happen to you in life.

All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare's in which the line occurs Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds....

I think of you, and always pleasantly, but I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?...

Half-wit, I will conclude. Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship...

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


Things to think about:


What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful intrument or am I neglecting it?

With dearest love. »


 

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