Monday, January 4, 2010

Facebook Status Update: "I want to be J.D. Flipping Salinger"

Yeah, I'm still here :) That twelve-day vacation really threw me for a loop, leading me to update my Facebook status this afternoon to, "I want to be J.D. Flipping Salinger" meaning basically that I want to live in isolation and not have to deal with people. Not really, of course, but I was having a moment.

So in a nutshell, my vacation was highlighted (or lowlighted, as the case may be) with hanging out with my kids, enjoying time with my sister and brother-in-law and especially my nephew, a minor flare-up of my cursed pancreas (but it was only a day at the hospital, not a week like it usually is), a lot of reading, not a bit of writing (not even blogging ... I'll never achieve Salingerian status at this rate), no grading of papers, and great conversations with good people :). Oh, and I'm completely lame and fell asleep when I put Belle to bed on New Year's Eve. I had plans, too ... I'm such a loser ;)

Anyway, back to Salinger ...

Sometimes I think it would be great to make your mark on the literary world at a young age and then become an infamous eccentric. Hiding from humanity is very appealing at times (and yes, I think that's what Salinger has done). Then of course it occurs to me how much I enjoy my family and friends, the pleasure I get from teaching my amazing students, walking through Wal-Mart and laughing at people (don't ask), having great random conversations with complete strangers at odd places. And then I kind of feel bad for Salinger because he probably missed out on a lot while enjoying his peace and quiet.

Wow, I am freaking RAMBLY tonight ...

As a side note, Andy and I were trying to come up with innovative ways to get my novel published. We had an interesting conversation about driving up to Cornish (which is only a couple of hours away from my part of the Granite State) and trying to find old J.D. Granted, he's ninety-one, but it was kind of cool to think about what sort of advice he might give to an aspiring novelist (answer--HE WOULDN'T ... but it was neat to contemplate, and certainly the kind of adventure that I could only have with Andy).

Do you think Salinger squandered his talent? Is there going to be a great outpouring of brilliant pieces released at some point (probably posthumously, if at all)? Have you seen the movie Finding Forrester, starring Sean Connery as a Salinger-esque writer? What do you think Salinger would say to an aspiring novelist, if anything?

(Oh, and just to make it really clear--the thing about going to find Salinger was totally a joke ... sometimes I forget that most of the people reading this do not know me in real life and might think that I'm really strange. Well, I sort of am. But not strange enough to hunt down the century's reclusive literary genius)