By Elizabeth Gracen:
Did you know that there are approximately 1 billion monthly users on the Instagram platform? Sometimes you find yourself lost on these social media platforms, clicking away at links, images, and videos, and you don't really know how you got to a particular article or account. More often than not, when I follow the breadcrumbs of curated feeds on Instagram, I am pleasantly surprised at where I end up. It's like a treasure hunt, dictated by photographs and video. Just my cup of tea.
THE FEED is our series on Flapper Press that features curators and their unique Instagram feeds. This week, we focus on @dorothyparkersociety and its creator, Kevin C. Fitzpatrick, author, tour guide, and president of the Dorothy Parker Society (dorothyparker.com).
EG: What a joy to go down the rabbit hole that started with me finding @dorothyparkersociety on Instagram. Your website and the great work you are doing to introduce Dorothy Parker to new readers and to celebrate her work if just fantastic. Please tell our readers a bit about yourself, The Dorothy Parker Society, and the work you are doing.
KF: I’m a fourth-generation New Yorker and that’s why I like writing books tied to NYC history. Among them are A Journey into Dorothy Parker’s New York and The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide. I discovered Dorothy Parker in the ‘90s when a friend gave me a biography; I was hooked! The Insta feed is relatively new, but it’s an extension of my site, dorothyparker.com, which launched in 1998, a long time before social media. It was a hand-coded site, tedious to update! The following year the site’s popularity took off, and I launched a walking tour of Parker’s Manhattan locales. This was the impetus for my friends and I to start the Society with a “mission” to follow:
1. To promote the work of Dorothy Parker
2. To introduce new readers to the work of Parker
3. To expand the fan base of Parker
4. To have as much fun as possible
5. To take part in service projects in the spirit of Dorothy Parker
EG: Why did you decide to focus your passion and effort on Dorothy Parker? What makes her so special, and why should someone read her work?
KF: Initially what drew me to Parker was that I identified a lot with her life. We both lived on the same street (West Seventy-second). We both had bad apartments, bad bosses, bad jobs, and terrible relationships. I was—and still am—a big fan of bar culture and nightlife. As I read and read some more (and still reread), her poetry and short fiction are timeless. I think the reason she’s not ephemeral and hasn’t gone out of print (like her contemporaries) is that Parker wrote about the human condition. So getting your heart smashed up in 1921 is the same as 2021. We still use phones like in her story “A Telephone Call.” Just picture waiting for your smart phone to vibrate to waiting for an old-fashioned rotary-dial telephone to ring. I encourage anyone who appreciates well-crafted poetry, in the classic styles of a ballade, rondeau, or sonnet, to explore her poetry. Parker’s short fiction, particularly from the 1920s–1930s, are time capsules of apartment life, relationships, and speakeasies, but seem like they were written last week.