No Love, No Squalor. And No Sale

…. and her name wasn’t Esme, either.

A newly surfaced work from the late JD Salinger is up for sale—for about $1,800 a word. It’s a signed note to his maid in 1989, which the online company History for Sale has up on eBay for $50,000, reports the Concord Monitor.

Dear Mary,” it reads. ” Please make sure all the errands are done before you go on vacation, as I do not want to be bothered with insignificant things. Thank you. J.D. Salinger.”

That $50,000, by the way, does not include $19 for shipping.   — Newser

I would enjoy owning an original piece of writing by JD Salinger, who remains one of my heroes and great influences.  (Not that he’d be happy to hear that.)  I think 50 iron men is kind of steep, though.

I have a few mildewed originals lying around the estate here, covered in cat hair.  I have a signed and dedicated drawing of Bongo, the one-eared rabbit,  by Matt Groening (of Simpsons fame, young ‘uns.  Before that, there was Life In Hell featuring the rabbits.  FGI.

Buried on a bookshelf is an autographed, personally dedicated copy of Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.  Amazingly, that was her third book, and she was still totally nobody at the time.  The book she signed was one step away from being remaindered, and she signed it during an appearance at a discount book store her agent was happy to find for her.  Mind boggling.  I also have a signed copy of Willie Mays’ autobiography.  Say hey!  I can’t be sure I ever read it, and I truly doubt he actually wrote it, but he signed it.

I have a book by HL Mencken in which a 2-line, typewritten  letter on his personalized half-sheet  is attached: Gentlemen:  Will you please send me “Time to be Young,” edited by Whit Burnett?  Unhappily, I don’t know  the name of the publisher, but the book came out recently and I assume that you can find it.  Sincerely yours  and signed.  It’s dated 5/5/45, and the letterhead is simply

H.L. Mencken

1524 Hollins Street

Baltimore – 23

I don’t know to whom the letter was sent or how it came to be stapled in the book.  It cost me $35 in 1980.

I also have an antique leather post card autographed and personally dedicated to me by David Bowie.  During the Serious Moonlight tour, he stayed at the Latham Hotel in Philadelphia where my very good friend Rag lived, and she sent him the post card with a note asking him to sign it.  Which he did.

A note about that tour:  Bowie visited 50 American cities that year, playing one concert in each except New York, where he played two, and Philadelphia, where he played: Four.  Actually, what happened was he booked three, but there was such a demand he added a fourth.  We were great Bowie fans in Philadelphia, and he loved us back.  I saw him twice: once with Rag, once with Guido, who somehow got tickets.

I think that’s it.  I had Garry Trudeau’s signature on a 3×5 card taped to a bottle of olive oil (“Happy Rays,” it said: I was using olive oil as suntan enhancer at the time, paying tribute to his Doonesbury character Zonker), but it faded to nothing over the years.  The olive oil turned rancid).  And Guido once recognized Gregory MacDonald, of Fletch fame, when he turned up for a massage in the studio where she was working, and she got his autograph, but I don’t know where it is.  (He was shocked she recognized him.  I wouldn’t have, and I’d read everything he’d written wrote to that point)

So $50,000 for a trivial note about “insignificant tasks”?  Nah.  I’m still waiting for the release of his post-hermit opus.  I’ll pay market price, a/k/a/ the cost of a paperback.

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3 Responses to No Love, No Squalor. And No Sale

  1. Borkon says:

    ferchrissake, Ackley….. it’s only a note to his maid.

  2. Beardsley says:

    Salinger died in January 2010 and there’s still no news of any posthumous publications. An unauthorized bio was published earlier this year, and his estate, when there’s any comment at all, refuses to address the issue. It’s very discouraging.

  3. Flaming Yon says:

    JD Salinger? Whay does anybody still bother? One great novel, a handful of amusing short stories, irrelevant for over half a century. The man was an accidental marketing genius.

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