Searching for the perfect job/spoiler alert

I was thinking tonight that what I’d like to do would be a writer in residence at the Tate Modern. I had the idea that it would allow me to be alone with the art before the place opened and after it closed and that then I wouldn’t have to scrum round like being at Sainsbury’s on a Saturday. I could probably write something good, too, I was thinking. I was in the shower by now. Even though literary writing is dead – according to an agent who visited the UEA Creative Writing dept only this week – I’d still probably write something literary, because I believe in that stuff. I was almost thrilled by the idea. It would be like, not like, I would be going back to my roots. Almost as soon as I’d had the thought (I was drying myself down now, vigorously) I remembered this piece from the Catcher in the Rye. It’s near the end, where you learn what the title means: I was never really bothered about that; before I arrived at this passage I thought the Catcher in the Rye was just something that sounded great, like the Guns of Brixton or White Man in Hammersmith Palais. It’s a lovely job that Holden wishes for himself; I’ve always wanted to do it. (Incidentally, I’m sure Sigur Ros lift the idea for the video for Glósóli from this.)

“You know that song ‘If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye’? I’d like—”
“It’s ‘If a body meet a body coming through the rye’!” old Phoebe said. “It’s a poem. By Robert Burns.”
“I know it’s a poem by Robert Burns.”
She was right, though. It is “If a body meet a body coming through the rye.” I didn’t know it then, though.
“I thought it was ‘If a body catch a body,'” I said. “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around— nobody big, I mean— except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff— I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.”

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9 Responses to Searching for the perfect job/spoiler alert

  1. Ralph says:

    I am genuinely thinking about taking a creative writing course later this year, you’ve witnessed much of my nonsense Steve, do you think I’m a lost cause?

  2. Stephen Foster says:

    You will get taunted by Daftburger and others for your pretensciouness moi. If you can live with that, which I think you can, definitely do it. Maybe keep that superb story about the lady with the stockings back until they all know you better and understand you though, eh? 🙂

    I’m currently teaching at a night group, there are some really interesting writers there, I think it’s a right good thing to do.

  3. Ralph says:

    I’m not going to do it then. 🙂

    Yeah, I’ll leave a few of the dodgy ones at the back of my note pad.

    Will semi literatenessnuss be a problem?

  4. Stephen Foster says:


  5. Daftburger says:

    Stephen you disappoint. It’s called constructive criticism! I respect you totally dude. I’m still considering buying one of your books as I can’t find one in the second hand shops I frequent! (And I only frequent those so as not to fuel the capitalist society!)

    “(I was drying myself down now, vigorously) ” Is that what they call it nowadays! LOL! 😀

  6. Stephen Foster says:

    * proves point *

    : )

  7. OS says:

    Foster, Boy! The first person you have to live with is yourself. That would be hard work if you pretended to be somebody else for the sake of expediency. Just as Trezza put two fingers up at the world with her last brilliant literary work, so you should do the same. You can get a paper job to keep the wolf from the door, or put a notice up like Fred did for some ragrolling. Those are analogies.

  8. Stephen Foster says:

    Who the hell is Fred?

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