“It seems that no worthwhile artistic endeavor ever came without struggle,” writes Blake Hazard, one-half of the most excellent indie rock-pop-17% electronic-duo, The Submarines. Because creating art and trying to find a way in this crazy, whichever way the wind blows, bitch-of-a-world, isn’t hard enough, Hazard has the added luxury of being F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great-granddaughter.
INT. BASEMENT RECORDING STUDIO.
A MUSICIAN shakes her head, the cords from headphones slap against a lyric sheet. A GHOST appears over her shoulder.
They’ll only let you in because of me.
That was almost a century ago…
It doesn’t matter.
Hazard, in her essay “Born Back Ceaselessly Into the Past,” in the electric lit mag Radio Silence, writes about what it is like to carve her own path as an artist while living under the long shadow of her grandparents. She explores feelings of insecurity when given a break: was it because of her artistic merit, or because people aren’t good at math and don’t realize she never met Scott or Zelda?
But, really, does it hurt to be related to one of the world’s most celebrated writers? Anyone who has tried to share their art with the larger world, and actually try to make a living at it, knows what a pain in the ass it is and how little the payoff is. The late nights and early mornings–the crap jobs–all the handshaking–the false starts–the doubt…good god, the doubt. (If you are saying “well, it wasn’t that hard for me and I’m making a living thank-you-very-much,” please email me. We should be friends – friends that share secrets and contacts.) There is no need to elaborate on the act of creation and all the struggles that lie within. If you’re reading this, you probably get it. Hazard gets it. The answer is “yes” by the way. It hurts as much as it helps. When you’ve got intellectual or cultural commodity–or whatever we would call that “your great-grandfather is famous” factor…”a commodity of coolness” is too superficial–moments of being uncomfortable and unsure in your own skin are more frequent.
When touring solo as support for Aimee Mann, at a stop in Asheville, NC, Hazard visited the Grove Park Inn. Those Fitzgeraldians out there will know this as the inn where F. Scott stayed when visiting Zelda in the Highland Hospital, as the town where she lived out her final years, and where she eventually died in a fire. After that proximity by way of place, feeling the same blood run through her veins, feeling at peace with who she is as an artist and with her familial connection, Hazard writes, “in my own state of exhaustion, having followed Aimee’s bus alone in my car over many miles and through many late nights, I started to feel some comfort in this shared space.” After a correspondence with the grandson of Henri Matisse, she muses that, “No matter how our families have shaped who we are as artists, these pursuits and struggles will always be our own.”
Rock on sister.
You can read the article here.
You can check out The Submarines here.
Daniel DiFranco is from Philadelphia. He graduated from Arcadia University with an MFA in Creative Writing. His words can be found in Philadelphia Stories, Crack The Spine, and Wyvern Lit. Wanderlust bit him at an early age and he learned the hard way that there is no peanut butter in Europe. He can be found at danieldifranco.net and @danieldifranco.