Saturday, February 13, 2010

So long, Salinger

It seems I am drawn to blog about the dead. I think this is my third or fourth tribute to the recently deceased. Maybe it's because the novel I am working on revolves in large part around a funeral, so death is frequently on my mind.

In any case, I couldn't avoid mentioning the passing of J.D. Salinger, author of the classic The Catcher In The Rye and famous recluse. I'm not one of these rabid Catcher fans who carries a worn paperback copy in their back pocket or anything. I read it once, quite a while ago, and thought it was excellent.

The passing of Salinger has caused me to pull it out and read it again. I'm not too far into it yet and I'm already loving it, such a strong voice and unique character. It's inspiring me. I can't get enough of the first sentence:

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

Part of me thinks it's sad that such a talented writer only published a few things and then shut himself away from society for the rest of his long life. But, the other part admires anyone who willingly walks away from fame and fortune.

In an article I read about his passing, he is quoted as saying, "There's a marvelous peace in not publishing. Publishing is a terrible invasion of privacy....I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure."

Interesting perspective, no?


  1. "I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure."

    This is definintely NOT me. I love to write, but I love to be read. I can't begin to explain the immense pleasure it gives me to hear my kids begging for the next chapter...

  2. There are things I write only for myself, and those things are a personal window into who I am. But the other stuff...that is what I will be excited to see finished and possibly in print.

  3. It IS and interesting perspective. I don't think I'll know how I feel about it until I'm actually published.