It was several years ago now that someone approached me in the Commodity Aesthetics section in the basement of City Lights bookstore and told me about HGH, human grammar hormone, the substance first isolated by Noam Chomsky in 1956 but not synthesized until 1994.
What a lot of you may not know is that it was Chomsky's pursuit of an ideal subject, in terms of syntactical elaboration, that drove Salinger into hiding; it's just a hypothesis that Salinger was exceptionally high in naturally occurring HGH since they never got to stick a needle in him and find out if there was a scientific basis for all those scenic detours and narrative oxbows.
02 September 2004
For those of you concerned, in this Olympic season, about the use of performance-enhancing drugs among atheletes, I say, think of the other professions where this is a plague. Consider this confession: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer, in which "an author laments grammar-hormone juicing but insists her prose was unaffected."