Friday, January 10, 2014

CELEBRATING SALINGER: MY ONE THOUSANDTH POST CELEBRATION

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

To celebrate the recent publication of my one thousandth post, I've been posting my top ten posts, but also posting some sad posts that received very little attention. I wrote this post soon after J.D. Salinger died during January of 2010. Farewell, J.D. has had a measly 16 page views, and no one has ever commented on it.



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 scroll up a bit on my Message Center you'll find a portal to Amazon.com, one of my favorite cyber places in or out of this world. [no longer in existence] You can order Salinger's books there. And then 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?

Love,

Dumped First Wife

40 comments:

  1. I studied CATCHER IN THE RYE when I was 16
    And hated it

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    1. I know some other people who hate it, too. I've never gotten around to rereading it.

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  2. Wow. What a strange bloke! What in the world would compel someone to drink their own pee? Or anyone's pee, for that matter!

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    1. Long ago doctors often drank patients' pee to help make a diagnosis. But Salinger was just strange.

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  3. I've never read The Catcher In The Rye. I've heard that it's a least favorite book among highschool students though. I might give it a go at the library, just to see what the big deal about it is.

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    1. I thought it was very popular with high school students. I know it used to be.

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  4. I read CITR in college and remember my paper concluded the boy left the sanitarium and lead a real life. I went back to it last year, to help my grandson with it. Fifty years of living and the mental breakdown and suicide of my youngest brother at age 28 put a new perspective on the book. My only lingering thought is, could my brother have dreamed away the rest of his life in a sanitarium? I doubt JD knew any answer, just the threads he pulled together and wove into that story.

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  5. I was one of those unfortunate souls forced to read CITR in high school. I didn't think much of it then but perhaps I should give it another read.

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    1. I'm surprised that yet another person has admitted to hating CITR during high school. It has long been extremely popular with high school students. Maybe you didn't like it because you were forced to read it, or perhaps your teacher was lousy.

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  6. I've never read Salinger, but I just bought it on your recommendation. I'll let you know my opinion in a week or so!!

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    1. If you like TCITR, then I recommended it. If you don't like it, then Favorite Young Man recommended it.

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  7. Now I've got an itch to read Margaret Salinger's book, so I'm going to head over to Amazon. And I also now want to reread Catcher in the Rye. Ole Pee Mouth himself.

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    1. Isn't that a good nickname? I don't think Margaret Salinger and her father reconciled before he died. I saw her on TV once. She seemed quite intelligent.

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  8. There's a Salinger documentary on Netflix that I watched. And I got a different impression than the image portrayed of him as a weirdo recluse. I got the impression he was a guy who hit big, didn't really like the attention, and didn't want the scrutiny of anything else he wrote being compared to what he felt he accomplished, creating the "great American novel." And I can understand that. That's why I keep writing, in hopes of creating the great internet blog post. Then off I'll shuffle into the vortex.

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    1. I watched the documentary. I still think he was pretty weird. He "courted" numerous young women by mail (much younger than he was) at the same time. His second wife divorced him because he spent all his time in his "bunker" writing. He seems to have gotten along well with his son, but his daughter gave up on him.

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  9. Hi Janie .. I think I've just won a copy of Catcher in the Rye .. so will get a chance to read it. From your description he sounds an odd character .. well now you've a few more comments than zero .. and reading Joanne's comment above - has thrown more light on the book ...

    Cheers - I really must get educated this year - Hilary

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    1. You seem quite well educated to me. I learn a great deal from you.

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  10. Blogger is a right pain ... making me comment twice!! I think I've just won a copy of Catcher in the Rye - I've never read it.. I might have tried, but failed dismally. Now a second chance ... and your notes are interesting, as are Joanne's in her comment - that puts another dimension on it ..

    He seems a little weird .. but so be it - cheers and here's to me becoming better read in 2014 - Hilary

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    1. He was more than just a little weird. I'd say he was downright creepy. CITR isn't really difficult to read. I think it comes down to whether you like his style. Many people who read the book seemed to think that if only they could talk to Salinger that he would answer their questions about the mysteries of life. He couldn't and didn't.

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  11. Drinking your own urine? Hey, don't knock it unless you've tr...no, no. Even I can't make that stand up.

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    1. I believe people in extreme situations (such as The Bataan Death March) have been extremely grateful to drink their own urine. I doubt if I'll ever be in such a situation, and I wouldn't drink pee as my first choice. Skim milk is in first place.

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  12. CITR is the only thing he ever wrote that I read. Nothing else was published, was it?
    You’ve given him a fine obit; hope he appreciates it wherever he is now hiding.

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    1. He also published a novella called Franny and Zooey and a couple of collections of short stories. I remember liking a number of the stories, but I haven't read them in years. He continued writing after he stopped publishing. Reportedly, the books he placed in the vault in his house will be released beginning in 2015.

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  13. I read CITR years ago and just maybe I will again.
    Maybe his eccentricity came from the fact that he was a genius of sorts.....and most people of this 'nature' are wired so differently from' common mortals' like myself.

    Trapped miners drink their own urine for survival.....maybe he was a miner at heart feeling trapped?

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    1. Interesting thought–he trapped himself.

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  14. I read CITR in high school (that was about 1960). I didn't care for the book, particularly, but I did enjoy, and still remember the scene about Phoebe challenges Holden with "Name something you'd like to be," and Holden responding with his Catcher in the Rye vision. There's something sweet and though-provoking about that. What would happen if we had more people caring for others like that?

    Blessings and Bear hugs, Janie.

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  15. This year, I decided to read up on the classic American novels I missed earlier in my life. Well, I did try Catcher in the Rye for about the third time or so and still couldn't get through it. I don't know if this is because I am not a native born American male, or if the book is over rated. I would love to hear the opinions of both Hilary and fishducky.

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    1. I think it's a bit overrated, and it seems to have a special appeal for young men.

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  16. I read "Catcher in the Rye" and enjoyed it, but that was more than fifty (ugh!) years ago, and I've read a book or two since then, so I don't remember a whole lot about it. The only thing I can remember is the voice. It struck me as being very authentic, and very different from most of the books I was reading at the time.

    As for Salinger, he was a few fries shy of a Happy Meal. I guess there's a fine line between genius and insanity.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. I think a lot of "artistic types" have elevators that don't go all the way up.

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  17. Dear Janie, Salinger may be proof of that old adage that "truth is stranger than fiction." A truth I've realized as years have passed is that we never know the full motivation behind anyone else's actions, just as we are never able to plumb our own deep-down motivations. I had a dream once about anonymity and its hazards, but I must admit that I'd like to find out what it would be like to have a slew of people know that my name's connected to a best-selling novel!!!! Peace.

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    1. It would bother me, though, if my book were associated with high-profile murders or attempted murders. The man who killed John Lennon had CITR with him. The man who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan was devoted to CITR. I know there are other cases, too, but can't remember the specifics. I'm not sure why this book would lead the deranged to attempt murder, but if it hadn't been CITR, it probably would have been something else.

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  18. Never read Salinger. Never drunk my own pee. Maybe they cancel each other out?

    -andi

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    1. Let's make a pact: We'll never be pee drinkers.

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  19. Congratulations on celebrating "the recent publication of my one thousandth post."

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    1. It's not so recent now, but I'm going to celebrate till I get to 2,000 and start celebrating all over again.

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  20. I've never read TCITR either. It wasn't required reading in any of the classes I took in high school. I have a paperback copy somewhere, in case I ever get around to it. Haven't had that urge yet.

    Congratulations on getting comments this time.

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    1. Yours is probably autographed but you can't bear to sell it.

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