Winter Dreams, the alternate text, by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Winter Dreams, the alternate text

By Asa Montreaux

Outside, across the dull-colored lake Amory could see the other cabins. A single light shone from the middle one, the other two stood illuminated only in an effervescent gleam. He wondered what the inhabitants were up to, otherwise there was nothing to occupy one’s mind out here in the country.

It was unpleasant being home in Minnesota, but such was the times. The depression had been the curve ball in everyone’s plans, Amory figured. For him, otherwise he would have been the CEO of the advertising company his Dad had purchased a small share in by 1930. 

It was 1933 now, and Amory found himself scribbling novels to try and pay the bills. Strangely, he was chasing an artistic vision, trying to create something that would last forever, and that people would surely die to have.

Sitting alone at night, when it wasn’t too cold around the lake, he would wonder whether it wasn’t an unachievable task, to create a novel of prose as beautiful as a work of poetry. He wondered to himself why Byron’s quality slipped in Chile Harolde, and why Keats’ Endymion seemed to fall short of the aspirations of the greatest poet.

Many said we are all doomed to failure, in a sense. As an artist, was he supposed to create the greatest possible failure, to create the nearest thing to art? Or was he supposed to do something else entirely?

The problem was the audience, the young women, the young men, who would read his novels. Could he sell them a book of poems? He feared he couldn’t. It was the dirty tricks of the genre of the novel, the suspense, the drama, that pulled them in. They only wanted a story of love they could see themselves in if everything went perfect. They only needed escape, and art offered a mirror that reflected reality, or so wrote Shakespeare.

It was so long he had been someone trying to live his life like a novel the first couple novels came easy. And he had sold successfully, despite the growing recession. Americans hadn’t accepted the recession was here for a while, and they had bought things at first. Then things worsened, and people would only spend on what was absolutely necessary.

It was possible to sell some copies of a novel still, or so Amory heard. The end result was impossible to discern, but he hoped in his heart that he and Genevra would find enough from it to finance their life, even as he saw through the lies that this was the very best life. 

The problem was he had used so much of their relationship the first two books, that they had in a way described the honeymoon. It was a time before pressure, it was a time before she knew he would write the books. Now everything that happened between them, she wondered whether it would show up in a novel, and Amory knew this. 

The power to write a gripping novel could come at the expense of the happiness of his marriage. Genevra was as dear to him as anything on earth, as his child, as his father had been when he was a boy. Though what would be enough money to make them happy?

Amory was completely lost in thought, Genevra observed, but when she approached him, he was instantly aware of her, and he gave her his full attention as soon as he turned around and saw her.

‘Genevra, what is it?’

‘It’s nothing other than that Richard called, and he said to bring the boy. His kids request a play date before dinner.’

‘I see. The other lodgers request a party.’

‘We’ll be there longer than a dinner. We are highly sought-after company.’

‘Well, nothing ever changes, especially out of New York. He is sought-after company himself. He's quite the doctor.’

‘Well exactly, he’s the best ever they say.’

‘Hmm. Yes.’


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  2. This is my favourite story I have ever read


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