Salter Rehabilitated

William Powers and Martha Sherrill

Salter Rehabilitated

William Powers and Martha Sherrill

Salter Rehabilitated
An email conversation about the news of the day.
June 8 2000 5:11 PM

William Powers and Martha Sherrill

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My dear Thurston,

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I am the empress of my own reading world, yes! And indeed, "James Salter" is now freezing in the salt mines at the end of greatness. While he wasn't found guilty of memoir fraud in court (too little evidence, a spineless judge), I'm not sure I need to re-read him. Besides, I want people to buy his books and decide for themselves.

Read his exquisite descriptions of flying an airplane at night! Read his poetic musings about the sunlight in the South of France in September. Everything happens in autumn! And at dusk! In all honesty, who cares what his last name used to be? He just wanted a more beautiful one, a glorious one. An autumn sunset of a name. And he deserves it.

Meanwhile, I feel vaguely sad about how we've demeaned the "Breakfast Table" with our various obsessions and judgments and self-absorption. Have you noticed there's been a motif? We went from dead squids to lifeless nudes to airplane crashes to Moby Dick and eventually landed on the literary carcasses of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. (And come to think of it, it's possible that James Salter died when we were in Japan.) You even had to flaunt your lack of sexual interest in 70-year-old women. Fear of death was everywhere. God, I think we even bored "The Fray" into silence.

So now it's back to just the two of us, my dear. You and me. And our little e-mails to each other. Of course, they'll be a little different next week, won't they?

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xoxo
martha

William Powers writes a weekly column on the media for National Journal magazine. Martha Sherrill is a former staff writer for the Washington Post, a contributing editor at Esquire, and the author of The Buddha from Brooklyn (click here to buy it).