Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."

"I'm beginning to feel that no author has the right to tear his characters apart if he doesn't know how, or feel that he knows how (poor sucker) to put them together again. I'm tired - my God, so tired - of leaving them all broken on the page with just 'The End' written underneath."

JD Salinger, 1943

JD Salinger, author of works that have meant much, maybe the most to me, and is without a doubt my greatest prose-writing influence (that is to say, inspiration, whatever, as i don't mean to sound like i'm following his tradition or plan to be his successor or anything), died today at age 91. I've said a few times that I'm rather impatient for his passing as it may make available all of his manuscripts written after his withdraw and seclusion from real life, but I never meant it, and I still don't expect that possibility to come together. the truth is, apparently, i found it very comforting to think that hidden away somewhere was this very brilliant, very weird, probably perpetually Holden-esque character (who perhaps liked and likened himself to young people a bit too much), still alive, still at his typewriter, this last living connection to the Glass family, this last family member. There was the thought, however abstract, that, as Holden with Fitzgerald, I might just call him up one day and have a chat, ask after Zooey (and whether the boy is too old now to consider marrying me), and Franny, and if he ever figured out where the ducks go in winter. But I guess I can't really do that now.

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.

How sad, we have lost the last "classic" writer, I may be mistaken but I can think of none other, who has had the effect on literary America that lives. And how sad, I have lost the writer of my favorite story ever put to paper. I feel like I have lost a family, the Glass family, they have moved away, and that though they've left behind their memoirs and photo albums I will miss their presence.

How terrible it is when you say I love you and the person on the other end shouts back 'What?'

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