Authors: Calvin Trillin
Copyright © 2011 by Calvin Trillin
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Random House, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.
All of the pieces that appear in this work have been previously published, some in different form.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Quite enough of Calvin Trillin / by Calvin Trillin.
1. Trillin, Calvin. 2. Authors, American—20th century—Biography. I. Title.
Jacket drawing: Saul Steinberg, Looking Back, c. 1953
Ink on paper, 13 1/8″ × 10 1/8″
Originally published in
The New Yorker
, December 26, 1953
© The Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), N.Y.
These pieces have appeared in, among other places,
The New Yorker, The Nation
, a newspaper column syndicated by King Features,
The New York Times
, and various books. Some of them have been trimmed or merged or otherwise altered, but they remain in their period. Salaries have not been multiplied to account for inflation. VCR references have not been transformed into TiVo references.
“I’ve found that a lot of people say they’re from Kansas City when they aren’t. Just for the prestige.”
It’s common these days for memoirs of childhood to concentrate on some dark secret within the author’s ostensibly happy family. It’s not just common; it’s pretty much mandatory. Memoir in America is an atrocity arms race. A memoir that reveals incest is trumped by one that reveals bestiality, and that, in turn, is driven from the bestseller list by one that reveals incestuous bestiality.
When I went into the memoir game, I knew I was working at a
horrific disadvantage: As much as I would hate this getting around in literary circles in New York, the fact is that I had a happy childhood. At times, I’ve imagined how embarrassing this background would be if I found myself discussing childhoods with other memoirists late at night at some memoirist hangout.