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Book Deals Are Like Penises: I Don’t Have One, and that Makes Me Sad Sometimes.

10 Oct

No, this entry is not about my desire to be a man.  This serves more as a platform for me lamenting my seeming lack of achievement in the literary world thus far.  It seems like every young blogger or tweeter or tumblrer is getting a book deal these days. Books. You know, those things people don’t read anymore because they can’t sell them in any place but Barnes and Noble. Which is a bookstore. There used to be another one of its kind, called Borders.

No?

Nevermind.

Young Emma Koenig has a book based on her Tumblr, “Fuck! I’m in My 20’s!” Christian Lander got a book deal after starting ‘Stuff White People Like,” a personal favorite of mine. Even Hannah Horvath has a book deal now! Sigh.

What makes a blog so intriguing that it ends up deserving its own book? I totally understand SWPL, but it was “Fuck! I’m in My 20s!” that made me more befuddled. As I kept clicking through the pages of “Fuck! I’m in my twenties!” I kept wondering, what the hell is so bad about being in your twenties? It’s an amazing time of self-exploration, of deciding what to do, where to live, and who to date. What can possibly be all that bad? Moments of self-doubt, worry, and sadness will surely come and go, but I doubt that those things magically stop when the clock strikes 30.

If there is one thing I have learned from being a young professional in the legal field, it’s that having a penis will take you far in your career.  At least I can buy a penis if I wanted one. Money cannot buy a book deal. Or can it? [Insert obligatory comment on the unfairness of nepostism here.] Either way, I do have several ideas for books I plan on writing, hopefully before the sand in the hourglass runs down to the final grain.

Also getting a book deal is voice of a generation Lena Dunham, whose $3.5 million deal with Random House probably breaks some sort of record.  I really like Lena Dunham, but at the same time, I kind of hate her. I was simply born to the wrong family, or I did something wrong in a past life. Even though her parents are artists that many people have never heard of, they likely know people who know people who fuck people who know people. It’s all who you know. I need to know more people. Where do people who know people congregate?  I would like to find this place and write a brilliant expose on the truth about nepotism for Gawker. This will happen.

Anywho, I am using this entry to announce that I will be beginning work on on a book titled I’m Not Lena Dunham and Other Mistakes I Made Thus Far in Life.  This book is forthcoming from the shoddy copier in my office and will be printed whenever my boss is on vacation. There will be chapters about sex. Please buy it, or at least pick up the tear-soaked copies that will eventually be left on the tables of every Starbucks west of the Mississippi. I have a plan, bitches. But I don’t have a peen.

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You Goddamn Phonies! A Tribute to J.D. Salinger

3 Feb

I did not think of writing a tribute to J.D. Salinger until I started writing this sentence. By now it’s likely old news that he died and we are waiting to see whether he spent the rest of his hermit years writing more great literature. However, I cannot deny the impact  The Catcher in the Rye had on my adolescence and literary ambition.

I first read The Catcher in the Rye in ninth grade. I checked out an old, tattered copy from the Cheyenne Mountain High School library. No one had checked out this particular copy since 1991. This made me feel as though I had superior taste, and that I was as cool as someone who grew up in the grunge era. I can remember reading each sentence and pausing, thinking something akin to, “This is just like my life,” or a simple “Fuck yeah.” Holden Caulfield was me, and I was Holden Caufield.  Despite the obvious physical differences and the more obvious fact that he was fiction, I strongly identified with angst-filled Holden. The universality of Holden Caulfield is unparalleled by any other character in American literature. Although some may argue for the superiority of the portrayals of Humbert Humbert, Tom Joad, or Jay Gatsby, Holden Caulfield is the quintessential American fictional protagonist. Jaded by his charmed private school life and running away to New York City after his expulsion to escape the “phonies” that plague him, Holden is the picture of American teenage frustration.

The Catcher in the Rye is a novel that people tend to read to appear normal. Mark David Chapman, John Lennon’s murderer, carried a copy with him at the time of his crime. Mel Gibson’s character in Conspiracy Theory hoarded copies of the novel and would buy another each time he went to a bookstore to feel at ease. I am unsure of where this is going, but The Catcher in the Rye is the novel of the normal and the abnormal; the sane and the insane. Holden is your average, frustrated teen, and by the end of the novel, he’s speaking to us from a mental hospital, completely powerless and strapped to a bed.

Perhaps the most ironic thing about The Catcher in the Rye is Holden’s disdain for “phonies” and the seemingly universal appreciation for the novel. Holden would likely hate that we care about his story. You can immediately tell whether someone is a phony if they tell you that The Catcher in the Rye is their favorite book. When someone asks me that question, I tend to say anything but CatcherIn Cold Blood, A Confederacy of Dunces, etc. But of course, I’m a goddamn phony, and my favorite book is The Catcher in the Rye. J.D. Salinger is one of the authors who inspires me to want to write for as long as my mind will allow for it.

Pour one out for J.D. Salinger.