Wednesday, January 27, 2016

BLAST FROM THE PAST: FAREWELL, J.D.

On January 27, 2010, author J.D. Salinger went toes up. This post is one I wrote about him soon after he died:



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. 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 (Note: I've never gotten around to re-reading it.). 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?

This poor, sad post had twenty-three page views and zero comments. It has no self-esteem.

30 comments:

  1. I don't believe I ever read it. Honestly, I think I started it and couldn't finish it when I was a teenager. I should try and read it now, I suppose, but I seem to remember negativity, angst, and melancholy--correct me if I'm wrong--and those do not appeal to me. :)

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    1. I don't think you need to read it. It's kind of weird and depressing, as I recall from years ago. I do like some of Salinger's short stories, though. You can also live without those.

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  2. I can't decide if I feel better or worse now for never reading his work...meh, I'm over it. I do like your speculations on natural causes.

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    1. I don't think anyone needs to read his work. A lot of teenagers get caught up in a weird fascination with The Catcher In The Rye. Much better books are available for weird fascinations. Thank you for complimenting the natural causes. Pee mouth is one of my favorites.

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  3. I never really understood the cult allure of "Catcher in the Rye." Must be a guy thing.

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  4. Sad that this post received no comments. I wonder how Salinger would have thought about that.

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    1. He would have said I'm a phony for wanting comments.

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  5. Hi Janie - I don't think I've read him .. but this is another book I should add to the 'get out of the library' list and read. Interesting he was such a difficult character ... I'd hate to be tied to that life ... or him probably .. cheers Hilary

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    1. You can live without reading Salinger.

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  6. Did he really drink his own urine or is that just urban legend? That sort of running from fame isn't uncommon among creative types. I think there are a lot of actors who say they're uncomfortable with all the attention fame brings (Johnny Depp is one)--they want to create and of course they want to make a living off of it, but having people come to your town hoping to get a glimpse of you can't be a comfortable life for anyone!

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    1. It seems to be true because people who lived with him say he drank his pee. People wouldn't have been as interested in Salinger if he had made himself available for interviews and gone to workshops. At least Johnny Depp does interviews and walks down the red carpet. I remember when Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker had their first child. They walked around their neighborhood in New York with him in a carriage or stroller. They said they wanted people to get used to seeing them around.

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  7. What can I say? Now you have a comment.

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    1. And more than one, but yours is the best.

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  8. It's crazy how things change, eh? You really can see the growth of your blog as you build a readership.

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    1. Oh, yes. Now I have relationships with people I've never met in person. I know what my followers count on finding when they read my posts.

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  9. I tried to read him several times, but couldn't get into his books.

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    1. I like some of the short stories, but I can't think of any titles.

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  10. I read Catcher about a year ago. It's a powerful book. Since then, I've read a bunch of the books I should have read in high school and college.
    Just read On The Road, 100 Years of Solitude, Wind in the Willows, Red Badge of Courage, The Alchemist, and a bunch more.
    I knew J.D. was a piece of work, but I didn't realize he was a pee-swiller.
    R

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    1. He was a freaky dude. He had a thing for very young girls, like late teens.

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  11. Hi Janie - you've only lost followers .. because Google is tidying up - so we've all lost followers - anyone who doesn't have a Blogger link is being taken off ... I lost 25 - not a lot ... but enough!

    I hope you feel better .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Well, that's silly about taking away followers, but thanks for the explanation.

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  12. Get well soon, Janie. Keeping my blue fingers crossed for you.

    P.S. How can you lose followers when you're ill? It's forbidden by law.

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    1. Hilary explained the follower loss. Thanks!

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  13. Not able to comment on your latest post. That's odd. But, if I could, this is what I'd write: "Holy mackerel."
    Somehow, that just doesn't have as much zing here.
    I'm still your follower. Never fear!
    Or...maybe you do.

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    1. You couldn't comment because I disabled comments--not for you alone. I don't fear you. You're one of my favorites, Penwusser.

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  14. I love you, Janie-poo, and hope you feel better soon!

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    1. I love you, too, Cherdo-pie, and I hope I feel better soon, too. I have to recover so my new son and I can have fun times.

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  15. Hey I am still trying to catch up ! So I am just reading your post today.
    Don't tell anyone but I still have my one box of Christmas stuff still in my living room. I only have that one box do you think I could move it ?
    I am thinking I can just leave it there and wait till Christmas comes again.
    Now remember don't tell anyone.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I shan't tell a soul. I think you should leave it in the living room. My tree is in my attic with all the ornaments on it, and I didn't even put it up this Christmas. Maybe I will leave it in the attic.

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