March 22, 2016
The year is 1918 – Alabama in July, and without a doubt, it is sweltering. A vivacious, attention loving coquette with talents of her own encounters a soon-to-be famous author, and just like that, two wild, uneasy souls meet – and are doomed. But all that will come in good time. After a few too many good times, in fact.
But it’s before all that. Here is the child-woman Zelda. Zelda before the 20’s, Zelda before the Flappers, Zelda before the excess, Zelda with her mind still mostly intact. This is Zelda in April of 1919, writing to her lover, F. Scott Fitzgerald at twilight from a cemetery in Montgomery.
Scott my darling lover—
everything seems so smooth and restful, like this yellow dusk. … I’m so glad you came—like Summer, just when I needed you most… Waiting doesn’t seem so hard now. The vague despondency has gone—I love you Sweetheart.
I think I like breathing twilit gardens and moths more than beautiful pictures or good books—It seems the most sensual of all the senses—Something in me vibrates to a dusky, dreamy smell—a smell of dying moons and shadows —
This is a fragment of the letter set to music by Benjamin C.S. Boyle, a composer particularly drawn to big personalities, wonderful words and life on the cusp of tragedy. You really will want to come hear this, his newest song, his gorgeous “Zelda’s Dream”.
* * *
All in good time, as I said, the lives of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald would spin out of control. Too much of everything makes not enough. A year before F. Scott Fitzgerald’s death, after alcoholism, after falling down stairs, after infidelities, after mental breakdowns, when all was lost, Zelda wrote to him, “Dearest… Nothing could have survived our life.”
Join us for this and more Letters Set to Music on April 2 and 3rd, 2016.