Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Excessive Masturbation Slowing Down Salinger?

There's a rumour circulating in certain academic-literary circles about J.D. Salinger's newest solipsistic discovery. The thread's being credited to Joyce Maynard, Salinger's ex ingenue, but I'm sure it's filtered through many mouths--so I wouldn't bet on Maynard's authorship.

The story in question has Salinger blocked by excessive masturbation. That might seem odd for a man approaching ninety (he was born in 1919), but you have to understand that J.D.'s burned through doxological life strategies with a goal toward holistic nirvana. So maybe this masturbation thing isn't so strange. Jerome Weidman used to juggle before he sat down to work, and John O'Hara blew soap bubbles.

The rationale, according to the rumour, is that Salinger believes true art--honest art--can only be achieved through a vision generated at the moment of orgasm. It's not a new idea, but it hasn't been particularly popular among working writers--chiefly because of the element of distraction inherent in almost-constant sex.

But since Salinger's a recluse, there's no muse at work. It's just the man and his absent self, chugging through the creative process.

Needless to say this story's generating a lot of comment among academics. The running gag is that he's worked himself out of scrap paper.

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