Saturday, January 30, 2010

like you imagined when you were young.

J.D. Salinger died.
File him, along with songs by Ben Folds and San Francisco beat poetry, in the category of things I felt so strong and deeply in high school when the world was infinitely nuanced and I was hyper emotional.
They don't mean as much to me now.
Their meaning only derived from the fact that they once meant so much to me.
But, of course, that's what makes his work all the more profound.
More meaningful.
More of a triumphant achievement in literature.

p.s. I'm pretty much convinced clean, commercial, unvarnished copies of his books don't exist. Maybe an Indie conspiracy only adding to the legend.

So some quotes from his books I oncethought/stillthink were the be all and end all:

You can't live in the world with such strong likes and dislikes.
(Franny and Zooey).

Seymour'd told me to shine my shoes just as I was going out the door with Waker. I was furious. The studio audience were all morons, the announcer was a moron, the sponsors were morons, and I just damn well wasn't going to shine my shoes for them, I told Seymour. I said they couldn't see them anyway, where we sat. He said to shine them anyway. He said to shine them for the Fat Lady. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but he had a very Seymour look on his face, and so I did it. He never did tell me who the Fat Lady was, but I shined my shoes for the Fat Lady every time I ever went on the air again — all the years you and I were on the program together, if you remember. I don't think I missed more than just a couple of times. This terribly clear, clear picture of the Fat Lady formed in my mind. I had her sitting on this porch all day, swatting flies, with her radio going full-blast from morning till night. I figured the heat was terrible, and she probably had cancer, and — I don't know. Anyway, it seemed goddam clear why Seymour wanted me to shine my shoes when I went on the air. It made sense.
I'll tell you a terrible secret — Are you listening to me? There isn't anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. That includes your Professor Tupper, buddy. And all his goddam cousins by the dozens. There isn't anyone anywhere that isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. Don't you know that? Don't you know that goddam secret yet? And don't you know — listen to me, now — don't you know who that Fat Lady really is? . . . Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy.
(Franny and Zooey).

But while I was sitting down, I saw something that drove me crazy. Somebody'd written "Fuck you" on the wall. It drove me damn near crazy. I thought how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they'd wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them – all cockeyed, naturally – what it meant, and how they'd all think about it and maybe even worry about it for a couple of days. I kept wanting to kill whoever'd written it. I figured it was some perverty bum that'd sneaked in the school late at night to take a leak or something and then wrote it on the wall. I kept picturing myself catching him at it, and how I'd smash his head on the stone steps till he was good and goddam dead and bloody. But I knew, too, I wouldn't have the guts to do it. I knew that. That made me even more depressed. I went down by a different staircase, and I saw another "Fuck you" on the wall. I tried to rub it off with my hand, but this one was scratched on, with a knife or something. It wouldn't come off. It was hopeless, anyway. If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the "Fuck you" signs in the world. It's impossible. That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write "Fuck you" right under your nose.
(Catcher in the Rye).