Thursday, June 28, 2012
And so, Gentle Readers, we bid farewell to J.D. Salinger, the man who finally proved he would stop at absolutely nothing in his quest to escape his fans.
Allegedly, he ate a rather strange diet and drank his own urine. He also died at home of natural causes, which can mean all sorts and varieties of deaths in my active imagination.
Jerry goes to kiss his considerably younger wife. "You ain't kissin' on me no more Pee Mouth," she hollers. And so it's only natural that she strangles him.
By the way,that was her nickname for him - Pee Mouth - affectionate at one time but not so much after the many years of frigid New Hampshire winters spent in hiding with the One and Only, the Great and Powerful.
The man who was said to be obsessed with a hatred of phoniness and desired getting at the absolute truth . . . hmmmm . . . he doesn't seem to have been so genuine and sincere. Jerome "Jerry" Salinger took a dump on a number of women during his life. If you must satisfy your curiosity about the man who created the Glass family, read Joyce Maynard's "At Home In The World" and Margaret Salinger's "Dream Catcher." I recommend the books. They are interesting and well written and probably more genuine than the man.
It's been many years since I last read "The Catcher in the Rye." My favorite younger man told me recently that he thinks it's his favorite book. I'll have to reread it and see what I think. Will the star dust have faded or will I still think it's good? I certainly never considered it my favorite, but it has legions of fans. It made the Top 100 list of greatest novels of the last century, coming in at #64, according to the males-only board of Modern Library.
Salinger also supposedly wrote a number of novels, which he locked up in a safe at home, after he stopped writing for public consumption. If those novels are released, how can they ever live up to his rep?
So, Salinger, maybe you reveled in the attention you attracted by hiding in plain sight. Maybe your writing wasn't so hot anymore and you knew it and you kept your star shining by refusing to release your work. You let people speculate about you when you could have allowed your readers to get at the truth of you. You could have shed light on your writing and your process. You could have taught, but maybe you were so weird you were afraid nobody would have you. Or maybe you thought you were too good for the rest of the world. Easier to dazzle naive young women with your fame and with fake promises. Keep a woman at your beck and call. Engage a town in hiding you. Your own little world revolved around you.
The citizens of Cornish, N.H. admitted they got sick of all those people coming to town looking for Salinger so it was only natural that somebody finally came after him with a shot gun?