J.D. Salinger's Statement about Himself (1949)
In the first place, if I owned a magazine I would never publish a column full of contributors' biographical notes. I seldom care to know a writer's birthplace, his children's names, his working schedule, the date of his arrest for smuggling guns (the gallant rogue!) during the Irish Rebellion. The writer who tells you these things is also very likely to have his picture taken wearing an open-collared shirt - and he's sure to be looking three-quarter-profile and tragic. He can also be counted on to refer to his wife as a swell gal or a grand person.
I've written biographical notes for a few magazines, and, I doubt if I ever said anything honest in them. This time, though, I think I'm a little too far out of my Emily Bronte period to work myself into a Heathcliff. (All writers - no matter how many rebellions they actively support - go to their graves half-Oliver Twist and half-Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.) This time I'm going to make it short and go straight home.
I've been writing seriously for over ten years. Being modest almost to a fault, I won't say I'm a born writer, but I'm certainly a born professional. I don't think I ever selected writing as a career. I just started to write when I was eighteen or so and never stopped. (Maybe that isn't quite true. Maybe I did select writing as a profession. I don't really remember - I got into it so quickly - and finally.)
I was with the Fourth Division during the war.
I almost always write about very young people.