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Martin Amis | Norman Mailer | George Plimpton | J.D. Salinger | Camille Paglia

Dear Miss Spears,

This morning, I saw your cover spread in what I thought was the goddam Times Magazine. Later, my major domo informed me that I was actually reading Rolling Stone, which explains why it seemed like William Safire devoted so goddam much of this week’s column to some phony named "Lil’ Kim."

I realize you have a bright future as a singer of popular tunes. However, I am convinced that you are, above all else, a writer. I recognized it the second I saw your bare midriff in that patriotic cover photo: You have what William Shawn used to call the "sensual, milky-toned abdomen of an authoress." One need only listen to your self-penned "Dear Diary":

Dear Diary/Today I saw a boy/And I wondered if he noticed me/He took my breath away/Dear Diary/I can’t get him off my mind/And it scares me/’Cause I’ve never felt this way.

Too many writers care more about making a sentence sound good than they do about speaking the truth. They are all prostitutes. You, on the other hand, are innocent as hell. I see the germs of a great novel in those lines: The boy appeals to you because he is extremely sensitive, almost fragile. He is alarmingly intelligent, yet also innocent. He is eighty-one years old and a writer.

All you need is some direction, which I will happily provide. To complete your first book, you will need to stay with me for, at the minimum, one year in Cornish, New Hampshire, at the house I share with my attorneys. After you sign my lifetime confidentiality agreement, we shall produce this novel in my study, perched at the Olivetti, with you on my lap, taking frequent breaks for the study of homeopathy.


P.S. Consider this my entry in the "Oops!…I Won Britney’s Bustier Sweepstakes" as described in Rolling Stone. (I cannot send in my address on a 3X5 card, as requested. If I do, I’m sure I’ll have goddam Jann Wenner sleeping in my porch hammock.) Should I win, you can bring, or perhaps wear, my prize when you come to Cornish.

Martin Amis | Norman Mailer | George Plimpton | J.D. Salinger | Camille Paglia

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