Lazy Saturday, Crazy Sunday

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“Crazy Sunday” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I get up just as early on the weekends as I do during the week. I hear people talk about how they like to “sleep in” on the weekends and wonder how they’re able to do it. How do they get their bodies to accept to different sleeping/waking routines? As I’ve gotten older, it’s become a blessing, though, as I’ve come to cherish those early few quiet hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings where the world has only partially awakened and there are no demands from the outside placed upon my time. So I usually read or walk or both. This is why I assigned Saturday morning as the time that I pick which short story to read for my “Project: Deal Me In,” (wherein I read one story per week selected by “the luck of the draw” from a list of 52 stories I came up with at the end of last year). Today I drew the three of clubs, which I had assigned to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story “Crazy Sunday.”

I’ve read a few of Fitzgerald’s stories over the years. Some favorites among them have been Babylon Revisited, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, and also The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I think I enjoyed all of these more than “Crazy Sunday,” but it wasn’t a bad story. It deals with Joel Coles, a struggling, alcoholic screenwriter in Hollywood. His life has settled into a “workaday rhythm” during the days Monday-Saturday (it seems he usually works on Saturdays too) but on Sunday there is a respite and, rarely, recreation. Fitzgerald calls Sunday “not a day, but rather a gap between two other days.”

Coles is currently working for a famous DirectorandGeneral Hollywood power broker, Miles Calman, who, though he despises “rummies,” seems to have taken an interest in our protagonist. That’s nice, but no story yet, right? Well, that’s why we add Calman’s beautiful but unhappy wife, Stella, into the mix. Seems Calman is a bit of a philanderer and Stella chooses Coles as her confidant.

I’m certainly no F. Scott Fitzgerald scholar, but I do know that he spent some of the later years of his own career writing screenplays in Hollywood. His fame as a novelist preceded him and I suppose he likely felt something of a lowering in station in that new work, and that some of this deflation is explored in this short story. Fitzgerald’s tendency to love or romanticize “messed up” women is also well-known, and Stella fills that role to perfection.

What about you? Have you read this story, or others by Fitzgerald? What do you think of him and which are your favorites? And here’s a bit of trivia for you: “What does the “F” in F. Scott Fitzgerald stand for? (I’ll add the answer in the comments in a few days.)

This story is available to read online at: http://gutenberg.net.au/fsf/CRAZY-SUNDAY.html

Crazy Sunday was part of the collection, “Babylon Revised and Other Stories”

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But I own it as part of my collection The Best American Short Stories of the Century

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11 Comments

  1. Dale said,

    August 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I believe the F stands for Frances (as in Frances Scott Key). I’ve read the stories you’ve mentioned, Jay, but I haven’t read Crazy Sunday. I really have enjoyed most of his work – short stories and novels.

    Like

  2. Dale said,

    August 24, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I mean Francis…with an “i”.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      August 25, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Naturally! :-).

      And you are correct: Francis Scott Fitzgerald. (Wonder if he was named after Francis Scott Key…?)

      Like

      • Dale said,

        August 25, 2013 at 9:10 am

        According to Wikipedia, the name he was born with was actually Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. My guess is that was a little too long for an author’s name.

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        • Jay said,

          August 25, 2013 at 9:13 am

          Wow. interesting!

          I am reminded of an NFL-obsessed schoolmate of mine in the 70s, who was a big fan of the Minnesota Vikings and absent-mindedly answered a history test question on “who wrote the national anthem?” with “Francis Scott… Tarkenton”(!). 🙂

          -Jay

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Richard said,

    August 25, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Hi Jay
    I was about to respond to your question but I see it has already been answered correctly by Dale. Nevertheless, it is something of a coincidence (yes, I do believe in those) that I just had a fantastic brunch today at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville which is mentioned as the setting for an early scene in “The Great Gatsby”… I don’t believe it is mentioned in either the Robert Redford version or the more recent one but they tell me at the hotel that it was used to film the wedding scene in the most recent version. I can believe it because the place screams early 20th century with its marble floors, high ceilings, acres of mahogany and walnut and deep pile Persian rugs. I’m glad it has not been turned into some glass and steel modern office building. The Oak Room is a destination in itself. Even the elevators are beautifully paneled in highly polished walnut. I expected to see Zelda every time I turned around.

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    • Jay said,

      August 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Richard,
      I love concidences myself, whether I believe in them or not. Best of all, of course, are “literary coincidences” or at least coincidences I am lead to via reading.

      I just googled the Seelbach and looked at some pictures and, well… Wow! I was ignorant of its existence until reading your comment. I will have to head down 65 South one day and check it out.
      -Jay

      Like

  4. JaneGS said,

    August 27, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I share your love of Sat/Sun morning reading pleasures–my favorite time of the week, actually!

    I read a fair amount of Fitzgerald short stories a long time ago, but I don’t think I read this one. It does sound fairly autobiographical and grim.

    I’ve been toying with reading the Pat Hobby stories this fall, and now you’ve inspired me to do so.

    I also like the way you pick which story to read–may have to adopt that myself.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      August 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Jane,
      Thanks for the comment. You should really give “deal me in” a try. If I can get my act together, I’d like to make it a more organized “public” challenge in 2014, and try to get more readers involved. (The reading “burden” of a short story challenge is not so onerous as most of the other challenges I’ve seen out there and – if you fall behind – you can catchup up a couple month’s worth pretty quickly.

      I was ignorant of the Pat Hobbystories until now, but after some quick research, that sounds like a worthy reading project!

      -Jay

      Like

  5. hkatz said,

    August 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    I’ve read and enjoyed Babylon Revisited but not much else from Fitzgerald (except Great Gatsby); seems he did draw on his own life quite a bit. I should read Curious Case of Benjamin Button, as I saw the movie a while ago (I remember having mixed feelings about it – the premise was interesting, but I didn’t like how it was always handled. It didn’t help that I’m not a fan of Brad Pitt.)

    Anyway, that Best Short Stories of the Century collection is on my list of short story anthologies to read 🙂 It’s always on hold at the library, but eventually I’ll get it.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      August 31, 2013 at 7:54 am

      We read Benjamin Button for a “short story month” we had in an old book club of mine, and it was pretty well-received if I recall correctly. I was skeptical about the movie but overall was pleasantly surprised.

      The Best Short Stories of the Century has pretty much lived up to its billing so far; I think I’ve only read 9 so far. Several are still on my short story reading project list for 2013 though.

      -Jay

      Like


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