There’s a loneliness that only exists in one’s mind. The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is blink.
He [F. Scott Fitzgerald] had learned to theorize, to think, although he was always less interested in the dissection of his reading than in the enjoyment he received. (About F. Scott Fitzgerald)
I had a strong sudden instinct that I must be alone. I didn’t want to see any people at all. I had seen so many people all my life -- I was an average mixer, but more than average in a tendency to identify myself, my ideas, my destiny, with those of all classes that came in contact with. I was always saving or being saved -- in a single morning I would go through the emotions ascribable to Wellington at Waterloo. I lived in a world of inscrutable hostiles and inalienable friends and supporters.
Always, after he was in bed, there were voices - indefinite, fading, enchanting - just outside his window, and before he fell asleep he would dream one of his favorites waking dreams.
It is sadder to find the past again and find it inadequate to the present than it is to have it elude you and remain forever a harmonious conception of memory.
...Baltimore. It's imperfect. Boy, is it imperfect. And there are parts of its past that make you wince. It's not all marble steps and waitresses calling you 'hon,' you know. Racial strife in the sixties, the riots during the Civil War. F. Scott Fitzgerald said it was civilized and gay, rotted and polite. The terms are slightly anachronistic now, but I think he was essentially right.
Now he realized the truth: that sacrifice was no purchase of freedom. It was like a great elective office, it was like an inheritance of power - to certain people at certain times an essential luxury, carrying with it not a guarantee but a responsibility, not a security but an infinite risk. Its very momentum might drag him down to ruin - the passing of the emotional wave that made it possible might leave the one who made it high and dry forever on an island of despair...Sacrifice by its very nature was arrogant and impersonal; sacrifice should be eternally supercilious.
My whole theory of writing I can sum up in one sentence. An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.
Writers aren't exactly people.... They're a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.
He was changed as completely as Amory Blaine could ever be changed. Amory plus Beatrice plus two years in Minneapolis - these had been his ingredients when he entered St. Regis'. But the Minneapolis years were not a thick enough overlay to conceal the "Amory plus Beatrice" from the ferreting eyes of a boarding school, so St. Regis' had very painfully drilled Beatrice out of him and begun to lay down new and more conventional planking on the fundamental Amory. But both St. Regis' and Amory were unconscious of the fact that this fundamental Amory had not in himself changed. Those qualities for which he had suffered: his moodiness, his tendency to pose, his laziness, and his love of playing the fool, were now taken as a matter of course, recognized eccentricities in a star quarter-back, a clever actor, and the editor of the "St. Regis' Tattler"; it puzzled him to see impressionable small boys imitating the very vanities that had not long ago been contemptible weaknesses.