Thursday, January 28, 2010

RIP JD Salinger

I was going to participate in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop today, but something else has taken precedence.

JD Salinger, one of my favorite authors, passed away yesterday at 91. I'll be honest, I wasn't a *huge* fan of Catcher in the Rye, but Franny and Zooey, 9 Stories, Raise High The Roofbeam Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction... Those stories were fantastic. I even wrote my own story, Taylor, that was inspired by a combination of the chapter "Franny" in Franny and Zooey and The Awakening (Kate Chopin, another favorite). There are rumors of a posthumous collection, which I really hope is true, but even so this is a huge loss to the literary world. :(

Salinger, who remained an enigmatic figure after giving the world only one novel and four collections, taught me a lot through his characters -- it's okay to be an angry, disaffected youth: It's okay to want something different, it's okay to want the world to change, it's okay to take every day by the horns, and it's okay to think for yourself. He may have refused to give a lot of interviews or to come out of his self-imposed seclusion, but I think that's part of his legacy and we have a lot to learn from him.

"Just because I'm so horribly conditioned to accept everybody else's values, and just because I like applause and for every else to rave about me doesn't make it right. I'm ashamed of it. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody. I'm sick of myself and everybody else that wants to make some kind of splash." --Franny, Franny and Zooey.

I hope to have the courage to be absolutely nobody.

Do any of y'all have a favorite author that taught you a lot?

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