Great American Coming of Age (work in progress)
I was disappointed to discover that Tobias Wolff (two f’s) has already written my first three novels. One was even made into a decent movie with Mr. DeNiro playing the hard-driving asshole of a stepfather. I have yet to read his lesser-known first novel, Old School to see how Holden Caufieldish it is. I know my first attempt at the great American novel was derivative and not in an evolutionary or aspirational way. Thus a failure. And yet, the novel I’m trying to write today. Scratch that. I am writing.
The logline is: Innocent abroad crashes into creative mania and New England prep school authority in hair-raisingly funny family disaster movie. Portrait of the artist. Catcher. Separate Piece. Dead Poets. On they go, stretching a tradition that started with Walt Whitman’s Song of the Self. That’s not very good. Just a second. Sallinger is overused.
This Boy’s Life has already been written and made into a successful movie. Holden has trust fund money set aside by Sallinger’s estate to make sure no Catcher movie is ever made. Of course, there is Holden in every Wes Anderson movie and every coming-of-age book written since. But mine’s gonna be different.
Not really. Did John Irving write about prep schools? Or Cheever? Who’s got the gold star for prep school ennui? Have you ever heard of Tom Schulman? Okay, so book then. Book before screenplay. Bestselling book before fame. Check ignition and may god’s luck be with you.
In outer space, no one reads anyway.
Read more Short-Short Stories from John.