Friday, January 29, 2010

A Perfect Day for Bananafish

JD Salinger died yesterday.  And you know what?  I don't care.

I liked JD Salinger.  A lot.  Nine Stories tops the list as my favorite body of short stories.    Franny and Zooey is up there too.  Ahhh, the Glass Family remains a genius invention.  (I'd be remiss not to mention Catcher and the Rye; while I liked it, it was his short stories that made me swoon.)  So yeah, I was a fan.  But he was 91 years old.  That's a really long life.  And for decades he didn't want to be found.  Which means that in artistic terms, he might as well have been dead already.

There will likely be volumes of unpublished work emerging from his estate.  The executors and family and whoever else is in his will will comb through every belonging:  the library, the journals, the neatly typed sheets of paper (I have a hard time picturing him in front of a Mac), and the world will finally have a chance to read what he had been hiding for the last five decades.   Likely, millions will gobble up the new works, longing for that familiar ghost.  Except he didn't want us to.  He *chose* not to publish -- it's not like he couldn't get a book deal -- so to read what he intended to be hidden just seems a little uncool.  All this may be moot because he could have had some clause in his will that was all like, "X stories are to be published posthumously.  Use Y editor. Blah blah blah."  But unless that provision is there, count me out.  I'll remain, cherishing his earlier works like an old friend who's moved far away:  we visit every few years and pick up just where we left off.


Joslyn said...

I don't know, there's something kind of amazing and lovely (and so rare) about a modern writer who chose to "write for writing's sake" and didn't give a damn about notoriety or ever getting published. For that, he was a personal hero of mine and his death is worth a good old fashioned "moment of silence."

vanessa said...

Oh I'm definitely pourin' one out for JD. He deserves his Michael Jackson moment. My point is that he didn't want to be found for the last like, five decades. And because of that it's not like we've been consistently reading him throughout the years so that his passing is palpable (like say, David Foster Wallace's or Elliott Smith's). For that reason, it might as well have been Dostoevsky who died (although that would have made him really, really old).

Anonymous said...

Wow you are so smart. You use many words and they all sound so fancy. You must have very happy life being so smart and beautiful. I imigine you have a proud husband and beautiful kids to and you do all of this traveling and yoga fun. how happy you must be. How I can be like you?

C Lu said...

Nessa, please don't tell me you wrote "Catcher AND the Rye." Please.

Hey Anonymous, I "imigine" you are a fucking moron. Oh wait, I don't have to imagine it, you're proving it for me. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I like JD's cynicism. That was so fresh in 1983, when I read Catcher in the Rye. The idea of a "phoney" seemed so cutting edge to me. Cut to: 2010, where his idea of a cynical tone is very tame by comparison. Nowadaze? People are uber-cynical. Not as many phonies either. So many seem too cynical to be phony.