J.D. Salenger is a demi-god to many. I didn't have to tell you this, surely. But I wasn't entirely aware of his status, of how deeply held he was until Joyce Maynard got up to read our second night. Woo-wee. She is of course the woman who had a year long romance with Salenger when she was 18 and he, 53. And she is the same woman who, 25 years later after sitting on that experience decided she would finally write about it. And she is the same woman who also got terrible criticism for doing so, not--I think--because she "exploited" her romance with him, but because he is just too close to literary deity in this country. It's like saying she fucked Siddartha Gautama, and he turned out not to be such an enlightened guy after all.
Although she didn't read about fucking him (though she did lose her virginity to him), she talked about being inspired and then reviled quite harshly by him, I was so fascinated by the percentage of people thoroughly pissed at her, considering her exploitave and wrong and dismissing her. I think she's certainly a complicated multi-faceted person, and one of those facets may include the desire to use her experiences to make money...but good ole' Jerry Salenger is just another writer, moreover, a purist, one of those who believes there is truly a line between "making art" and "selling out." And I realize I don't see this line. No. I don't believe in this line. It's a myth, clearly born in the mind of the artist themselves then fed to the public where it gets reinforced. Salenger was one of those and I will forever love his writing but not his philosophy. I think you can make art and make a living from the same tools.
What else must I remember to tell you about? Martha Cooley who I have disparaged in the past for being quite uptight, is more accessible than I expected and though she is going to ride my writing ass this coming semester and I will be sweating blood by the end, I'm looking forward to it. I can do it.
I'll be seeing you. I know my blog won't be featured in any newspapers anytime soon.