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Archive for February, 2010

Blackening the windows in mourning for J.D. Salinger would, obviously, be going too far. However, I have spent much of the past week thinking about the loss. I would qualify that confession with, “Not my personal loss, but America’s.”  And yet, how can I describe it other than in terms of a personal loss? In the same way that Kubrick, Vonnegut, Tony Hillerman, and others left voids in our society. 

Many people understand these voids intellectually through the mechanisms of our media, the official announcements from agents and publishers, etc… while a “bereaved” reader experiences the passing uniquely, in terms of memory, fleeting impressions, how the artist may have shaped one’s childhood. That kind of thing.

So, yes, I’ve been mourning. Because of nostalgia? That’s certainly a big factor. Because of my awareness that the world is changing, for better as well as for worse? Definitely.

I miss those two summer days I spent first reading Catcher. I didn’t read it as an assignment. I had heard it was a book that should be read and so I did, and so it was. And now the luminous hand from which it sprang is dark.

Maybe the windows should be dark.

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