We attended a wonderfully fun Great Gatsby themed party last night at the whimsical historic home of friends in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Guests attended in full Jazz Era attire, music filled the patio, redfwoods towered above us, food and drink flowed, and our conversations were rich.
But the center of attention for me at the party, as in the Fitzgerald's novel, was the pool. It was the central character in the play at hand.
Water in the pool is a symbol of rebirth, Gatsby's ability to dream, his attempts to stop time and go back to the way things used to be.
When unexpectedly asked to say a brief speech into the microphone, I thought to conjure up the Blue Mind themes throughout the Gatsby narrative: the Long Island Sound, the color blue surrounding Jay Gatsby's every move, the decadent pool rarely used, and Gatsby's final resting place at the bottom of it. Fortunately, I had recently reread the book just prior to the release of our friend Leo's remake of the film so the "blue" theme was fresh in my mind.
“I’m going to drain the pool to-day, Mr. Gatsby. Leaves’ll start falling pretty soon, and then there’s always trouble with the pipes.”
“Don’t do it to-day,” Gatsby answered. He turned to me apologetically. “You know, old sport, I’ve never used that pool all summer?”
At this party we would create an alternative ending to the Gatsby story. It would involve the pool, yes. But one filled with happy people, stripped down and enjoying new friendships and a night swim.
And that really is the underlying message in Fitzgerald's tragic masterpiece: hope and optimism. Big blue dreams.