More Salinger, Please

3 02 2010

My sanity seems to have been a sufficient sacrifice to appease the travel deities, for trying as the trip there was the weekend (all 13 hours of it) turned out to be pretty outstanding. But more on that later. For now, some more words (mostly not my own) on that very wordy, very revered writer who passed away last week. Yes, I am still in mourning. No, I have not been dawning all back (save for an unfortunate packing error that led to such a get-up on Saturday night). Beyond that, however, I am more than ever hopeful that the coveted rights that the recluse so closely guarded may be released and crazy fans like myself will get more of what we crave.

There is a letter, written by Salinger in 1957, suggesting that it’s likely the rights to Catcher in the Rye will be sold, but frankly I agree with the man when he says in that same letter that the novel is a “novelistic novel,” with scenes that might make great movie shots, but an overall dependency on Holden’s voice, a problem I can’t believe could be resolved by narration throughout. Would I see the movie if it were to come out? Of course, just as i am anxious to the Howl, but the reader in me is more anxious to see the writing that comes out of hiding now that the master is no longer protecting them. Sure you can dig through the archives of The New Yorker for old stories, but that’s not quite the same as holding a book of the (or better yet, of never published works) in your hands to read over and over. I keep my fingers crossed.

Until then, a roundup of some of the cool stories I’ve come across since last week. I’d like to underline my love of Esquire—I know it’s a men’s magazine, but I find it so smart and entertaining (generally smarter and more entertaining than most women’s magazines I know), and I also appreciate that it was one of the first magazines that showcased the work of Mr. Salinger, along with a series of other phenomenal writers. Check out this great Salinger bio, an early Holden story and a very cool early letter from Salinger to the magazine. New York Magazine also published an interesting piece on him and because there are too many to choose from, a list of the Salinger tributes on the magazine that pretty much made the man, The New Yorker. I will, no doubt, be one of the nerds who goes out and purchases this week’s issue. And then, I promise, I’ll stop the Salinger talk. For now…

Farewell Jerome David Salinger

28 01 2010

Yesterday nine people contacted me to alert me that my J.D. Salinger has passed away. I suppose that’s evidence of my abounding obsession for the notoriously reclusive and unbelievably brilliant author. He’s best known for the cult classic Catcher in the Rye, a great teen angst novel that captures his chatty style, but by far not his greatest work (in my humble opinion).

He was, however (and unfortunately for his readers) reticent, leery of the press and stopped publishing well before he should have (in my humble opinion). In any case this enigmatic, magnificently intelligent man created a world which I loved, a family of geniuses who have entertained me and taught me and kept me company, since I discovered them in high school.

And so, on this day, I thank Salinger for introducing me to the Glass family, and to the Fat Lady, and to levels and schools of thought that have entertained and sustained me over the years. His are the words one wants to read over and over. He’s mapped New York and he’s inspired obsession in many more than myself.

There is a part of me that’s hopeful that now more of his elusive works will be available. that in his death I may experience more of his genius. But, in respect for his character, only a small part. The rest of me just considers Buddy Glass’s words at the close of his ode to his brother, Seymour, an Introduction: “Seymour once said that all we do our whole lives is go from one little piece of holy ground to the next. Is he never wrong?”

Farewell, Mr. Salinger. Best of luck on your new piece of holy ground. And thanks.