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In this episode of Saturday Show Podcast, Frank discusses the timely demise of “Burn Notice,” the joys of a gluten-free beer called “Bard’s Beer,” the new biography of J.D. Salinger entitled “Salinger” by David Shields and Shane Salerno, the origins and current state of the literary magazine, “The Whirligig,” a short story entitled “The Aleph” by Jorge Borges, and more. Always more.

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sacheenSSPpraiseCroppedShow notes and relevant links:

Burn Notice
Bard’s Beer
The Wire
Salinger by Shields & Salerno
The REAL Writers Group
Georgie Borgie
The Whirligig on


Music provided by radiotimes and lazztunes07 via “Fear or Love?” provided by melodysheep via YouTube. Liners provided by two lovely and talented ladies: Ms. Amanda Billyrock and Ms. Melissa Craig.

Posted by Frank Marcopolos

Frank Marcopolos founded "The Whirligig" literary magazine in 1999, which has been called "a landmark, demonstrating the power of the literary underground." It has been said that "you get this true lion-roaring sense that Editor Frank Marcopolos knows what he likes, and how to read, and how to publish, and he has guts, and eats insects on Wheaties with bleach." His long-form fiction has been reviewed with such praise as "thorough-goingly entertaining" and "highly readable...recalls the style of Michael Chabon or John Irving. A literary gem that should not be missed." A broadcasting-school graduate, his unique literary-audio work has been featured in movie trailers, scholastic environments, and on YouTube, with one of his audiobooks achieving over 100,000 "views" there.


  1. socalag03 frankmarcopolos That’s an interesting idea. The problem is whether to do a 3-hour show covering every angle of it, quoting every decent critic, or to somehow sum all of that up, and then give my own personal opinions. We’ll see.

  2. frankmarcopolos socalag03 This is all very interesting, and I’m looking forward to hearing more.
    Not that “Saturday Show” seeks to be a Salinger-centric effort, I think you should consider an episode dedicated to an exegesis of “A Perfect Day for Banana Fish.” We briefly touched on it in the writing group. I know you had a lot of background on it. And in this episode you quoted many writers who viewed it as a breakthrough story. I still have reservations about it…

  3. socalag03 Well, that’s the real question, isn’t it? That is how they’re primarily marketing the movie– “What Happened to JD Salinger?” the movie posters scream. The accepted theories, though, are: 1) His frustration with the editing and publishing process was such that he didn’t want to have anything to do with the industry. One famous example is when he flew off the handle about a comma that was changed in one of his stories. Also, whenever a magazine would change one of his titles, he would get very upset. He once said that publishing is akin to walking down 5th Avenue in your underwear. The sales of the books he did put out were such that he could financially afford to not publish–money goes a lot farther in Cornish, NH than in NYC. So, why put up with the hassles of dealing with idiot-editors if you don’t have to? (He called them people who’ve never produced art in their lives, telling artists how to do their art, essentially.)

    2) PTSD. It’s now widely believed that Salinger suffered with untreated PTSD–back then, they called it being “shell-shocked,” and it was presumed to last only for a little while, and then you recover. So, if he was suffering to any extent from this, it would be natural to seek isolation, calm.
    3) Religious Pursuits. Salinger was very spiritual, and he pursued a form of Vedantism that espoused detachment from the material/physical world. So, to attain this, he would naturally need to be secluded while he meditated. “To be with God, where it’s really nice,” as Teddy would say.

    So, those are the main theories. It’ll be interesting to see what-all else the movie version reveals, if anything. After reading the book, even after 700 pages, there is still one glaring (it seems to me) omission in the research. I’ll be discussing that in the next podcast, probably.

  4. Salinger was famously reclusive, but
    there are other examples. (Defining reclusive here as reaching a
    certain fame and suddenly withdrawing from that world.) Harper Lee came to
    mind immediately when you were discussing Salinger. She’s more or
    less from the same era (1960s) as well. I wonder how much their “retreat” may be a product of that time period.
    There are contemporary writers (i.e.
    Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon) who, though not reclusive, seem to
    shy away from public functions/interviews. They do, however, continue
    to produce new work.

    Going back to Salinger, you mentioned
    having read at least one biography in addition to the one you’re currently
    working through. But you haven’t mentioned the reasons offered for
    his reclusiveness! Is this common knowledge that I’m not aware of?
    Why did he disappear from publishing? Is there reason to believe that
    some sort of mental illness was involved? What did he do for a living (or at least with his time) when he was no longer publishing?

    – Michael (the one from the writing group)

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