“Crack-Up” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I had never read anything by Fitzgerald before, not that I can remember; but I will remember this piece. He managed to express many truths on depression: “—hating the night when I couldn’t sleep and hating the day because it went toward night.” That’s a line that sums up depression pretty well. It reminded me of the days that I struggled with it. He said more on depression: “But at three o’clock in the morning, a forgotten package has the same tragic importance as a death sentence, and the cure doesn’t work—and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.” I’ve also felt that. When I was first married I had fits of seizures put on by myself, as I beat myself up over nothing in the night under the sheets in the summer. There were times where I couldn’t go to work to build cubicles and move furniture with other depressed individuals. Much of the sentiment that Fitzgerald expressed was quite accurate by my understanding. And in terms of the personal essay it takes quite a skill to get to that point of description. I think that he was teasing out an emotion, which is to say that essayists will try out all sorts of things: emotions, images, ideas, memories, senses, etc. I merely believed, from what I had read before, that the essayist was teasing out just ideas and images. Now I see what can happen when you tease out an emotion. And Fitzgerald doesn’t stop at depression, he goes on into straight up misery and hate. Towards the end there are lines that I thought were beautiful in a sublime way: they frightened me and felt so true of evil. I guess there are truths of evil as well as good. Funny to put evil and true in the same sentence. But it is true that Satan hates God. It’s an ugly truth. Who knew that truth could be ugly. I think if truth is anything it abiding and eternal. It’s just constant: constantly ugly, pure, joyous, or bland.