Have you read “Trimalchio in West Egg”?

Filed under: Fun — marcia at 8:35 am on Thursday, May 22, 2008

I hate coming up with a title for something I’ve written! I hate it, and I am really terrible at it. Of course, a title isn’t more important than your writing. However, I think the title is an important part of the work.

So I am completely amused and surprised by the, well, terrible titles F. Scott Fitzgerald had for his works. I can understand his frustration that publishers were changing the titles against his wishes. But, man, I think they ultimately did him a service.

This Side of Paradise started life as The Education of a Personage. The Beautiful and Damned was at one stage due to be called The Flight of the Rocket. But the biggest struggle of all was over the book we know as The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald wanted to call it Trimalchio or, later, Trimalchio in West Egg. There’s a reference in the story to Gatsby beginning to forfeit his role as a modern Trimalchio, but that isn’t much help to those who have never heard of Trimalchio. I’d assumed he must be some walk-on part in a lesser known play by Shakespeare, who more than any other has been pillaged for titles. In fact he’s a character in the Satyricon (by Petronius) who, Gatsby-like, is constantly entertaining on a vulgarly lavish scale. The publishers, Scribner’s, insisted on Gatsby. On the eve of publication Fitzgerald demanded that Trimalchio be reinstated. But too late. The book had already been advertised with the title that it now bears.



Renegade Writing Group to Storm the Phoenix Theater

Filed under: News — joy at 8:41 am on Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Petaluma’s Word Pirates put on a show to entertain and scintillate your senses… with literature!

Petaluma, Calif., May 15 – Word Pirates, a professional writing group, will host its second annual reading on May 15. True to their name, the Word Pirates will commandeer the Phoenix Theater to tell tales that could rouse a dead man.

Last year’s standing-room-only reading featured local artists, gripping stories, and a surprise pirate duel. This year’s event will be even better. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m., with pirate-themed appetizers, grog, and surprise entertainment. Then the Word Pirates will read original pieces created in the group during the last year. This event is free and all are welcome. Peg legs and parrots must be checked at the door.

Word Pirates Reading
Date: Thursday, May 15
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: The Phoenix Theater – 201 Washington St., Petaluma
Cost: Free (donations welcomed)

Reading at the Event: Robin Cadogan, Morgan Elliott, Joy Lanzendorfer, Ross Lockhart, and Marcia Simmons.

For more information, visit www.wordpirates.org, e-mail [email protected], or call 707-782-0971. Arrr!


About the Group: Word Pirates is an independent writing group dedicated to the development and publication of creative writing. Co-founders Joy Lanzendorfer and Marcia Simmons chose the group’s name to reflect that while the group takes writing seriously, they don’t take themselves too seriously. You can visit the Word Pirates online at www.wordpirates.org.

Joy Lanzendorfer is a freelance writer living in Petaluma. Her work has been published in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Salon, Imbibe, Paste, Bay Nature, San Francisco Chronicle, Pacific Sun and the North Bay Bohemian, among others. She also has an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, where she sat on the editorial board for Fourteen Hills Literary Journal. She was a judge in last year’s Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award.

Marcia Simmons is an author services manager for Federated Media Publishing. Previously, she was the managing editor for the North Bay Business Journal, a New York Times publication. She was an editor and contributor for Project Censored’s annual book of censored stories and produced radio and TV programs for the organization. Her blog can be found at www.smartkitty.org.

I see dead people’s books

Filed under: Fun — marcia at 6:55 pm on Monday, May 5, 2008

Librarything is a site where you can catalog your books. There’s a group on the site, titled “I See Dead People’s Books,” that collected the collections of some famous dead folks.

Always wonder if Tupac Shakur and Marie Antoinette read the same books? Now you can find out! (I’ll spoil this one for you … they didn’t.)