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Friday, January 29, 2010


My favorite author, JD Salinger, died Wednesday. His work, especially "Catcher in the Rye" (my favorite novel), has had a profound impact on my life. Of all the art (music, film, literature, paintings) I love and adore, I felt that my connection to Salinger and his work was the strongest and most profound artistic relationship I have. I truly felt like he understood me and knew what I felt, more so than anybody on this planet.

I am aware of the total cliche it is to say "I am Holden Caulfield" but I can't deny it's power and truthfulness: I AM Holden Caulfield. And I'm not the only one... there are millions of Holdens all over the world who share his worldview... his passions and feelings. I was shocked... absolutely amazed... the first time I read "Catcher in the Rye". I read it in one day... in one sitting. I couldn't stop to eat, to breath. The novel made me feel like I wasn't alone, that I wasn't the only one who had these same feelings about society, about the "phonies" amongst us and our responsibility to protect the young and innocent against them. I read the novel every year now, learning new things about myself each time.

I love all of Salinger's work. I love his Glass family... I love "Franny and Zooey". I love his short stories... especially "A Perfect Day for Bananafish". I still remember the exact time, place... EVERYTHING the first time I read "Bananafish" and being absolutely floored. Feeling that my life had been somehow altered forever by this potent, explosive short story. Seymour Glass... what more can you say?

And it is this love of Salinger's work that leaves me almost somewhat happy and relieved of his death, as awful it might be to express that. We all know that Salinger was infamous as a hermit, a recluse. I've read a couple of books about him, one written by his dauther, the other written by his girlfriend, about his reclusive, bizarre behavior. His last work was published in 1965, but, by all accounts, Salinger kept writing daily during the last 50 years. He kept his work, which is rumored to possibly be as much as 15 novels, in a safe at his home in New Hampshire. His daughter said that he had specific instructions on the publication of this work after his death. So, although it is sad to see a legend go, we will finally get to see what he's been working on this whole time and have more opportunities to devour and appreciate more works by this brilliant, brilliant author.

We'll love and miss you JD. Thank you for your incredible work, and for the work that we will be discovering in the near future. Thank you for "Catcher in the Rye", a book that has meant so much to the 60 million who, upon purchasing and reading it, no longer felt completely alone in this messed-up, confusing world. It is because of you that I feel ok with who I am and what I believe in. I won't give in, JD. I won't be a boring adult, a phony. I will take your place on that cliff in the rye field, making sure the kids don't accidentally fall off. And I'll find out where those ducks go during the winter.

Hope you caught up with Phoebe on that carousel, JD. Save a spot for me.

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