Revisiting some General Resolves à la Jimmy Gatsby

A painting of a woman reading by Henri Matisse in
Woman Reading, Henri Matisse     Oil on Canvas    1894

Back in 2013 I revisited The Great Gatsby for the first time since sophomore year of high school.

The point was to tell the handful of people who read this blog that at twenty-seven, I now had a better grasp of the novel than I did at fifteen. Continue reading “Revisiting some General Resolves à la Jimmy Gatsby”


I did a serious blogger thing and paid money for a pretty template, of which, according to the designer, there are only fifteen available. Let’s just say it was a Christmas gift to myself, and turned out to be much cheaper than eighty percent of the other things I was considering buying myself, and something I’d get more mileage out of. Plus, I get to share it with all of you.

I meant to write a fabulous upbeat post about looking ahead and sticking to my resolutions and unlimited optimism, but I sat at my desk for a few minutes this morning and wrote a few lines, then deleted them out of embarrassment; it all sounded so vague and half hearted. I had good intentions, I swear, and was building said post up in my heart, hoping it would emerge like a sparkling, laser cut diamond on New Year’s Day, words flying from my fingertips in the kind of uninterrupted flow you hear about in interviews of authors talking about their most recent bestsellers I haven’t experienced in quite a while, but it was more like a sputtering car engine, the earnest kind you see in Chevron commercials of cartoonish cars that just want so badly to take you where you want to go but just haven’t the right kind of fuel. That and I was suffering the after effects of Christmas Eve, Christmas (in Vegas!), then a best friend’s birthday party (also in Vegas!) and then…well, the days tumbled together like an invisible avalanche and while I didn’t drink much at all and have clear smiling pictures documenting everything, the whole time inside I felt slightly fuzzy and subdued. It’s a crazy way to feel, but not at all bad.

Charlene captured it quite perfectly one evening in Vegas, alone in our room. Grace, Amy and I were taking our sweet time at the Encore Spa (highly recommended by the way, if you’re curious to know what it was like to be a Turkish Queen – though without the slaves). I was concentrating hard on not thinking (actually immersed in both my robe and the latest issue of O Magazine), and she had come up first to get ready for our heavy, fancy French dinner at Mon Ami Gabi. Stepping into our otherwise darkened room, she saw the colors first, a bold burst of fiery yellow orange glowing at the edge of the desert and sky, so bright that it cut through lines made by the sheer draperies. For anyone who’s spent some time alone in a Vegas hotel room, you may know the feeling I’m about to describe – especially when you stand near the window at the edge of the afternoon, at the dreamy hour right before the city transforms into that thriving, throbbing neon, strobe light bacchanalian mecca we call America’s Playground, Sin City, Las Vegas.

Vegas at Dusk, 2012 by Charlene 

That feeling is an odd concoction of excitement, anticipation, and admittedly, because of my weak composition, some fatigue. But the emphasis here is on the former sensations. I don’t believe what others tell me or what they like to say about Vegas: that Vegas is not real life and that I’m not myself when I’m there. I don’t believe it because I’ve been there enough times with different people to know otherwise, and because I have proof. I can turn to either side of the vista and see the apartment buildings and the track homes of people who have made Vegas their lives and have learned in both hard and easy ways how to balance day and night, the glitter with the sand. And waiting for friends to come back in a half dark room all quiet except for the hum of the AC and perhaps the occasional slamming of a neighbor’s door or the laughs of some rowdy boys, you look out the window at the view, slightly undulating through the sheer black curtain and see something more.

The city is there behind the curtain, its shapes just sharpening against the setting sun. The curtain moves slightly, playing with the light. What faces are being lit, what eyes? The Sun has his time, but at dusk he blesses the city with one last kiss before letting her go off and do her thing. In the morning the sun will be there again, perhaps a little too bright, and, some will think, too harsh, but all he really wants the city to do is wake up and look forward to the night ahead, when the city is at her best.