Late last night I read that JD Salinger passed away.
He was living in isolation and was 91 years old.
The world has lost a legend of a man who changed and defined lives in ways that perhaps, only now, he will know.
I wore my Attack of Literacy shirt today in tribute; he's one of the writers featured on the shirt.
No other character but Holden Caulfield has remained so fresh in my mind - consistently, constantly - regardless of whether the last time I read Catcher in the Rye was yesterday or 2 years ago. He's the only one who's become a part of me not just while reading the book but after, up until now, and I imagine for a long time to come.
Many writers influence how we write. Here is a man who influences me from within. He really does.
JD Salinger, you're a star. In everyone's eyes, and mine.
When I was all set to go, when I had my bags and all, I stood for a while next to the stairs and took a last look down that goddam corridor. I was sort of crying. I don't know why.
Here are just some of my favourite quotes:
It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road.
I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible.
What really knocks me out is a book, when you're all done reading it, you wished the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.
When I really worry about something, I don't just fool around. I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something. Only, I don't go. I'm too worried to go. I don't want to interrupt my worrying to go.
Sensitive. That killed me. That guy Morrow was about as sensitive as a toilet seat.
I was half in love with her by the time we sat down. That's the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they're not much to look at, or even if they're sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. Girls. Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy. They really can.
People always clap for the wrong things.
I'm always saying "Glad to've met you" to somebody I'm not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.
It's no fun to be yellow. Maybe I'm not all yellow. I don't know. I think maybe I'm just partly yellow and partly the type that doesn't give much of a damn if they lose their gloves.
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 "F*** you" right under your nose.
You take somebody that cries their goddam eyes out over phoney stuff in the movies, and nine times out of ten they're mean bastards at heart.
I'm sort of an atheist. I like Jesus and all, but I don't care too much for most of the other stuff in the Bible. Take the Disciples, for instance. They annoyed the hell out of me, if you want to know the truth. They were all right after Jesus was dead and all, but while He was alive, they were about as much use to Him as a hole in the head. All they did was keep letting Him down. I like almost anybody in the Bible better than the Disciples. If you want to know the truth, the guy I like best in the Bible, next to Jesus, was that lunatic and all, that lived in the tombs and kept cutting himself with stones. I like him ten times as much as the Disciples, that poor bastard.
I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory.
Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.
He was singing that song, "If a body catch a body coming through the rye." He had a pretty little voice too. He was just singing for the hell of it, you could tell. The cars zoomed by, the brakes screeched all over the place, his parents paid no attention to him, and he kept on walking next to the kerb and singing "If a body catch a body coming through the rye." It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed anymore.
"Promise me you'll let your hair grow. Crew cuts are getting corny. And your hair's so lovely."
Lovely my ass.
Take most people, they're crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they're always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand-new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that's even newer. I don't even like old cars. I mean they don't even interest me. I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake.
All these angels start coming out of the boxes and everywhere, guys carrying crucifixes and stuff all over the place, and the whole bunch of them - thousands of them - singing "Come All Ye Faithful" like mad. Big deal. It's supposed to be religious as hell, I know, and very pretty and all, but I can't see anything religious or pretty, for God's sake, about a bunch of actors carrying crucifixes all over the stage. When they all finished and started going out the boxes again, you could tell they could hardly wait to get a cigarette of something. I saw it with old Sally Hayes the year before, and she kept saying how beautiful it was, the costumes and all. I said old Jesus probably would've puked if He could see it.
Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.
Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.
Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.