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