It’s been almost a century since a 23-year-old F. Scott Fitzgerald penned “The I.O.U.,” a short story that pokes fun at the publishing industry’s obsession with sensation over substance. But until now, you couldn’t read it; it was among Fitzgerald’s still-unpublished papers. Last week, the long-lost story appeared in The New Yorker, another chapter in what the magazine calls its “imperfect romance” with the author. In 1925, Fitzgerald was “was a little too famous to appear often in its upstart pages,” though they were able to snag two poems and three “humorous short stories” before he died in 1940. Read more…
The first time I admitted that yes, I was related to Francis Scott Key, it came as a shock, even to me, because, of course, I was lying. While my other college friends experimented with drugs and God, I experimented with genealogy.
Soon, I found myself trying to learn to pretend to be a writer and was surrounded by other pretend writers. “So you must be related to F. Scott Fitzgerald, too,” one of those pretend writers said. “Since his full name was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald and all. Surely you knew that.”
“Yes, I knew that.”
Of course I did not know that.
—Harrison Scott Key writing for Oxford American about the nature of names, and his history of (falsely) claiming to be a descendant of Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote the lyrics to the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”