There's an almost constant breeze here. Sometimes it feels like a gale, sometimes it feels like a cat's breath. It's always there, even when it barely is, so much so that when it isn't, it takes a few minutes to figure out just what's wrong.
We all read The Catcher in The Rye. It was one of two books that had and still have the most influence on me, on how I put the words on the page. The funny thing is, nowadays I couldn't peel more than a couple of quotes off the top of my head, and vast passages of it are covered in fog. I read it once, in high school, and that was that. But it settled into my bones. You survive a lightning strike, you still feel a tingle on occasion. I haven't thought about Salinger for years. Yet when I heard about his death, it felt like I'd gotten word of the passing of a favorite teacher. That maroon cover, those gold letters.
I suspect that J.D. Salinger was content, living away from the world as he did. He was 91. You don't like breathing, you check out way before that; maybe you put a gun in your mouth, or maybe the team of heart and lungs just stops playing - nobody wants to put out for a manager who's thrown in the towel. Perhaps he wrote every day. Perhaps he just played Wii. Perhaps he walked past me in an airport last month. His reclusivity was beyond the comprehension of most; ol' J.D. was a failure, many thought, a guy who blew every chance in the world to capitalize on his creation. But Salinger's hermitage was a triumph, in the age of Twitter, where nearly everyone who aspires to write (myself included) takes a cue from Mick Jagger: it's the singer, not the song. These days the writer's work isn't enough; we need to know them, as if reading their work wasn't all we needed. Salinger was an outline, a zephyr, a ghost who died twice. But in the end, he left all he needed to leave.