Notoriously private, J.D. Salinger would not have liked the new exhibit of his family photos, letters, and notes currently on display at the New York Public Library, organized by his son, Matt Salinger. Despite this, the carefully curated collection includes a “phony” publication acceptance letter from Salinger’s mother, a metal bowl Salinger made as a child, and hand-drawn mock-ups of the minimalist book covers that accompany his works. “He sat down in his leather chair in the living room. I remember it was winter time. And he sketched it out. He was focused,” Matt Salinger told The New York Times. “He writes about distrusting the word ‘creativity.’ He always thought it was a space you’re allowed to enter. You’re given things to share by whatever God you think is operative. There’s a release in that, and an ease. It’s not the tortured artist, pounding things out. That was not his affect at all when he was writing. There was joy in it.”
Still deciding what to do this Friday night? Watch PBS’s new documentary on Alice Walker, Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, at 9 p.m. EST. At The Daily Beast, Agunda Okeyo discusses the history of the film’s production, which took six years. “Stories about women of color told by women of color are sidelined and neglected in favor of our stories being told by white women and men,” director Pratibha Parmar says.
“I’m sure the ghost is fascinated by the N.Y.C. vs. M.F.A. debate, and would add that there’s a literary-world bias… toward writing done by the living.” The New Yorker interviews Rebecca Curtis about ghost stories and her latest piece of short fiction, “The Pink House.” For more about Curtis, check out our review of her debut collection Twenty Grand: And Other Tales of Love and Money.
“Dear Mrs D, Thanks for your homework. Your idea of writing a Christmas ghost story was a good one, but it’s not really the kind of thing I tend to do — it’s a little bit too genre for my tastes. Try Kevin, who sits next to me. He loves that stuff.” Over at McSweeney’s, Nick Hornby advises his son on excuses for failing to hand in his English homework, excuses which Hornby learned are acceptable during a thirty-year career in journalism, books, and film.
A few months back, I wrote about Dear Mr. Watterson, which at the time was set to premiere at Cleveland’s International Film Festival. Well, fans of Calvin and Hobbes will be happy to learn that the Bill Watterson documentary has just released its first teaser trailer. Look for the flick to hit theaters this November.