I know someone who doesn’t like my books because they aren’t in a class with those of J.D. Salinger, Tom Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, and Stephen King–and other giants of Serious Mainstream Literature. (Stephen King??? Well, he said it, not me.)
I would be seriously demoralized if anybody thought I wrote like any of those babblers. I have a neighbor, you see, who is obsessed with doing laundry. He likes to do it twice a day. His stepson has picked up the habit from him, and also does it twice a day. They both do laundry three or four items at a time. Three baseball caps. Two shirts and a pair of undies.
I think that’s what you do if you’re not writing Serious Mainstream Literature in which nothing bloody happens, nothing is revealed or resolved–the kind of books that make you run screaming back to Edgar Rice Burroughs. At least, if you’re obsessed with laundry, you get clean clothes.
Hemingway was a self-important ponce. Salinger was a dremmler. Stephen King hasn’t written anything worth a damn since the 1970s–and even that, when I revisit it, isn’t as good as it seemed at the time. If it weren’t for academic pinheads providing these writers with captive audiences of college students, no one would read them.
But what do you think, folks? Should I try to write more like J.D. Salinger? Does Helki the Rod need to spend more time worrying about teleological awareness? Or should he just go do some laundry?