Sunday, February 07, 2010

J.D. Salinger, You Goddam Phony

Jerry, Jerry, Jerry, for a guy who's supposedly dead, you've been in the news an awful lot.

And for a guy who mostly hid out in his hermit hole, coming out on occasion to scream at trespassers, get eggs and coffee and shoot the shit about the weather at the local place in town, and gawk at the girls at the high school, you've been getting a lot of how ya' doins by all those folks who you probably wouldn't give the time of day.

Seems to me that all that talk of phonies (I mean, who talks like that?) seems, how should I put it? hypocritical now that you're back on the literary circuit. When's your next book coming out, anyway?

I keep seeing folks on the train reading your previous work. As if you're going to rehash that old tripe! I mean aren't the Glass family pretty much half empty at this point? Off to the vapor, with you Zooey. And don't forget to send Esme a bit more squalor, Seymour. Bananafish, bah!

Jerry, you've found a new family to write about, right? The people of New York became boring long ago. But what's been going on down at the Cornish, New Hampshire, Post Office? What have you been listening to down at the barbers where you get your ponytail waxed? No, that probably wasn't you, actually. But it coulda been.

I don't know, Jerry, I think you've probably got it all wrong. You actually can't stay locked in the 1950s and '60s. Literature needs to breath or else it gets really dusty. But then that might have explained your penchant for younger women. Keeps us young, they say. But, Jerry, you were 91 years old when you died! Goddam, that's pretty friggin old.

Still, you did ok, man, God love ya. Maybe it's all right that you might have new works come out as long as you don't have to deal with the media freak show that would have occurred if you'd actually had them appear during your lifetime. Maybe your kids will go into seclusion in your stead if new works by you emerge from your Cornish cave.

Hey, stranger things have happened.


Jemi Fraser said...

You make me smile!!

Love this line: Literature needs to breathe or else it gets really dusty :) Awesome.

It will be very interesting to see what comes of the writing hidden in the safe.

Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks, Jemi. I was nervous about throwing what is completely a first draft out into the world like this. Glad you liked it.

Matt Sinclair said...

And if anything of his is allowed to emerge, I just hope it doesn't lead to a virtual cottage industry of "Salingernalia."

But I wonder if Salinger festivals might occur. He probably would have sued anyone to use his name on something while he was alive, but I wonder if it can be done now that he's no more.

Lisa_Gibson said...

Interesting to see, indeed. I liked this post. Salinger Festivals, where everyone is very morose and shouting at one another.

Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks, Lisa.

The possibilities for curmudgeonly behavior are endless! But I suspect the local wait staff and bartenders would tire of the guests quickly.

Terry said...

Hey, this was fun. Poor Salinger would never get away with being a hermit if he just started writing today.

I rather liked the old curmudgeon.

Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks, Terry, and welcome to the Bookshelf.

I enjoyed his work, especially his short stories, too.

Anonymous said...

LOL, Matt.

I appreciated this morning giggle. Your insight and writing are refreshing on this blustery day!

caroline_hagood said...

Great post. I would love to read good old Jerry's posthumous novel. That would really be something else.

Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks, Caroline. To me, the big question is how many novels he produced in the past several decades. I could picture him tweaking a few till he was satisfied, but it also wouldn't surprise me if he wrote a couple dozen.

Matt Sinclair said...

And thanks to you too, Cat. I hope to provide a new blog post very soon to keep you and my other dear followers smiling, or thinking, or at least enjoying something about a new day.