A Toilet, Illiteracy and a Return from Vacation

Goddamn money.  It always ends up making you blue as hell.
—Holden Caufield in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye

Summer is over.  Vacation is over.  The Royals are buried.  One kid is in school and the other is in daycare.  Things are normal.

Scratch that last one.  Things are never normal.

Case in point:  J.D. Salinger’s toilet.

I made the hideous mistake of watching television news this morning.  A story about the place where the super-reclusive author of Catcher in the Rye once did his business somehow managed more airtime than the ugly suicide bombing in Iraq, the trickle-shallow “discussion” of mosque construction in the Big Apple and a study revealing that a mere 9% of African-American eighth graders in New York are reading at grade level.  Less than one in ten.

A toilet that once graced the Salinger residence is now available for purchase via eBay.  The folks who bought the Salinger home apparently decided that his desire for privacy need not extend past his living years.

The million dollar asking bid is downright goofy and I can’t imagine the porcelain throne will sell at that price, but the fact that someone is trying to sell Salinger’s seems as ridiculous to me as it would to Holden Caufield.

It’s like factory-producing environmentally destructive plastic items and calling them “Thoreaus”.

As I understand it, my contributions here at Freelance Writing Jobs are supposed to actually relate to freelance writing.  You might be wondering what a heads-up about a toilet sale has to do with our shared profession.

Let me put it this way.  Salinger’s toilet may be worth more than several book advances for first-time writers with amazing novels and the payout for a few Pultizer-worthy articles combined.  The fact that some dipshit decided to auction off J.D.’s john is getting more attention today than every other single book published in the last century on television news.

Meanwhile, you might want to rethink a career dedicated to writing features targeting a young, male African-American demographic unless we collectively figure something out why school isn’t working for a rather large and important segment of our population.

It’s a grim day.  Kids can’t read and a writer’s toilet is a lead-in television news story.

And I wonder what we–those who make a living stringing words together–are going to do about it.

Things are as normal as they get, I suppose.


6 responses
  1. Jen Avatar

    I’ll be over here having a fantasy about putting Salinger’s books IN his toilet.

    I would never put water in the toilet, destroying books is against my personal belief system…but just having them in there, like flowers in their proper flowerpot, would make me smile every day.

    And don’t worry, another book will get great airtime as soon as one comes out that’s as “well written” as the Twilight series.

    Note: This comment was specifically written to make everyone cringe at least twice. It’s just that kind of day 🙂 Hope you are all doing well. Write On! (I’m sure that’s trademarked, it has to be, it’s so obvious.)

  2. Al McDermid Avatar
    Al McDermid

    I sent an email but I wanted to comment here as well. I’m wondering about the ad WL Writers Literary Agency that appear with Freelance Writing Jobs emails considering what Editors and Predators says about them:

    Writers Book Publishing Agency (aka Writers’ Literary Agency & Marketing Company (aka WL Writers Literary Agency)): Strongly not recommended. A literary agency.

    * 3/18/07 – Here’s a new question: If you submitted anything to the Writers’ Literary Agency and Marketing Company, did you get rejected? If so, please let P&E know for we all know that real literary agencies are very picky. They only select the work they believe they can sell. We’ll post the numbers here. Simply email P&E and tell us you were rejected or not rejected by this agency under any of their many names. Let’s find out just how picky this agency is. Oh, if they represented and actually sold your book, we’d like to know that too.
    As of July 08, two manuscripts have been reported rejected.
    * Despite a demand by “Sheriff” Sherry of Writers’ Literary Agency & Marketing Company (WLA&MC) in July 2007, for a confrontation with its critics in the Absolute Write Water Cooler forum, nothing happened. The critics were on hand, but Sherry wasn’t. So much for straight shootin’ and straight talk from WLA&MC.

    Do you think it proper that their ad should appear with these emails? It gives the impression that Freelance Writing Jobs is vetting this agency.

    1. franky Avatar

      Hi AI, thanks for the heads up. Could you please forward me these emails (and a screenshot to make sure I also see the ad). It is important to know that several ads appearing can be published by an ad network (Google Adsense, Adsense in Gmail, Ads in emails sent by Feedburner) andwe do not control which ads are served in those cases.

      Please send me a screenshot and the email at franky [ATT] splashpress [DOT] com.

      Franky Branckaute.
      Splashpress Media CEO.

  3. Derek Thompson Avatar

    It’s a salient lesson that airtime, like publication, is about having an angle.

  4. Jeremy Powers Avatar

    Sometimes I love I good rant! I wouldn’t worry about kids not being able to read. Based on the email I receive, most adults can’t either!

  5. Carson Brackney Avatar


    As the contributor of this post, I’d like to let you know that I don’t have a thing to do with the advertising that appears alongside my posts or in the emails.

    That being said, I’m sure the folks who do handle that aspect of FWJ will appreciate the heads-up.

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