J.D. Salinger

I Am Prepared to Read Many More Novels About People Fucking

I haven’t read Sheila Heti or Ben Lerner’s recent novels, the impetuses for Blake Butler’s recent, anti-realism-themed Vice article, but I’d like to respond to Blake’s finely-written itemized essay, because I, personally, continue to desire novels written by humans, which relate, slipperily or not, to human realitysubjective, strange and ephemeral as it is–novels which deal with such humdrums as sex, boredom, relationships, Gchat, longing, and, beneath all, death. I want a morbid realism.

I agree with Blake that a reality show like The Hills and social media such as Facebook create stories by virtue of humans doing simply anything. The documenting, sharing, and promoting of mundane everyday human life is more prevalent and relentless than ever before. In this environment, literature (and movies) about humans (most controversially, about privileged, white, hetero humans) that presents everyday drank-beers-at-my-friend’s-apartment life, wallows in self-pitying romantic angst, and doggy paddles po-faced through mighty rivers of deeply profound ennui can potentially seem annoying, or boring, or shittastical.


Craft Notes & I Like __ A Lot & Massive People & Random / 43 Comments
October 12th, 2012 / 12:49 am

Bathroom Break

Random / 49 Comments
April 20th, 2010 / 4:19 pm

Did You Just Tell Me To Shut Up? – A Guest Post from Giancarlo Ditrapano

[The Tyrant sends his thoughts on the unpspeakable. Please enjoy. – BB]

“Most stuff that is genuine is better left unsaid.” This is from a letter written in 1993 by J.D. Salinger to his friend E. Michael Miller (for this story, go here). Sounds like old boy’s last plea, doesn’t it? That last line of the red one, you know: “Don’t tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” This thought occupies my mind past the point of it being healthy. There are so many things for me that I cannot write down, or will not write down. I have tried to write them down, and I have written them down, and hated myself afterwards for doing it.

This is someone I won't, can't, write about.

It’s the same with speech. There are so many things I can’t speak about, won’t speak about. I have tried to speak about them, and I have spoken about them, and hated myself afterwards for doing it. I don’t know how to categorize these untouchables for there is no common denominator that I can pin down. I am not talking about gossip or secrets. Forget all that shit. I’m talking about the times or thoughts or experiences that cannot be regaled, or feel like they shouldn’t be regaled (even though they could be regaled but you would just feel like shit afterwards because no matter how good it felt to tell it, once you’re done it always feels like you have just let go of a kite string). That bit of advice from Dorothy Parker (about how if you have an idea for a story, not to speak about it or it will lose its steam) has something to do with it, but not exactly. Or it’s like that feeling you feel in that span of time between the moment you hear some good news (Writers, insert “acceptance-letter joy” here) and the moment that you start blabbing your head off about it. As soon as you start communicating it, telling others about it, something disappears, doesn’t it? And there was something good about that something that disappeared, wasn’t there? It’s not exactly like, but is kind of like, how you and your good friend would never talk about how good of friends you are because the mere mention of you even being friends would cause your friendship to wither somehow.


Craft Notes / 42 Comments
February 17th, 2010 / 1:30 pm


Author News & Behind the Scenes / 110 Comments
January 28th, 2010 / 4:30 pm


portrait of the artist in the rye

Sad news.  J.D. Salinger has died. Feel free to speculate on the obvious (and I don’t mean cause of death)…

Author News / 150 Comments
January 28th, 2010 / 2:20 pm

Valentine’s Post

gwenAs cued by asstastic pr, here’s a valentine’s post:

My favorite love story is “De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period” from Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. There’s something rather unacademic and cliche about loving Salinger, but seriously, he might be the best writer in the world.

Let me be brief, redundent, and pedantic: “De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period” is about a young smug painter who moves to Canada to teach painting with a weird Japanese couple; hilarity ensues. (I’m butchering this already.) Put short, he is a lonely asshole. He falls in love with a student — through paintings she sends in the mail for him to critique — and, in that sacred way, courts her with the untaught heart that makes love unbearable. The student is a nun Smith invisions as young ripe 18yr old nubile, in denial of the fact that she’s really around 60 yrs old. Upon recieving Smith’s heated letter/booty call, the seminary retracts the nun’s enrollment in the painting program. Smith loses not only his prospects of getting laid, but much more (there’s a lot of Christ symbolic stuff that I won’t get into). Smith dresses up in a tux and gets hammered, to make a memory out of nothing, and through a stunning moment of reflected sunrise light only Salinger could imagine and convey, Smith realises  that “everyone is a nun,” which, in my mind, reads as “god is everywhere.”

Salinger’s god is love. Happy Valentine’s day.

Author Spotlight / 18 Comments
February 14th, 2009 / 6:23 pm