The day of JD’s death at least 5 people texted me to break the news. Obviously I’m not talking about JD-Lu–he is very much alive, posting ECG’s of the Week and other intellectually stimulating stuff. For some reason people felt that Salinger’s death matters to me, and rightly so–I am the keeper of Salinger’s secret baul of unpublished stuff, which I’m going to unleash soon. No wait, I’m just kidding, Margaret, don’t sue me. Why Margaret, I never knew you’re reading my blog.
While Catcher in the Rye has been a childhood favorite I am also extremely fascinated with his Glass Family short story series, published in Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beams, Carpenter, and Seymour, an Introduction. Whenever I talk about the Glass Family I am assailed by the smell and taste of isaw in Ilang-Ilang. Yeah, yeah nostalgia and sepiatification works that way. It was in 1998 when I’ve first read the Glass series, and it wasn’t an easy read with all the streams of thoughts bordering on neurotic ramblings. 1998, when the then-Ms. Therese would drag me during the summer classes to Ilang-Ilang for isaw binge. Ms. Therese could eat anything. She could eat 60-peso worth of pork kidneys, and in 1998 that was a lot.
My copy of Franny and Zooey I got from Powerbooks Arnaiz, which was not very popular then and was frequented by around 4 people at the time. There was always the comfort of knowing a place nobody knows about, so I was mortally distressed when I saw it transformed into some warehouse and the Makati branch transferred to the much more accessible Greenbelt and was called Powerbooks, Live! It became showbiz since then.
And as was always the case my writing style would mimic what I have recently read. I wrote a story very similar to the Glass Family stories, about two messed up chess prodigies missing their brother who died from pneumothorax or something. See, I’ve said “something”, because I’ve deliberately repressed that infernal short story from my consciousness. I’ve entered it into a yearly national short story contest. It never even got shortlisted and rightfully so. It was crap.
In a way I’m satisfied that Salinger never had a “comeback” or something, because I think he was a genuine recluse who never really wanted or needed any attention whatsoever. He is the poster boy of anti-self-promotion, while I’m a self-promotion whore. And while we’re on the topic of self-promotion, whenever I get to publish something on a national or something I sign my friends’ copies (usually just Smoketh and Mrs. Therese, because they’re the only ones who care enough to get copies)and write “Here’s my autograph. In the event that I become famous.” I’ve been writing that for almost a decade now, and I’m still stuck in a totally unrelated work and still ramming down pointless blogs down the throats of anyone who cares to listen. Maybe I’ll just pretend I’m a recluse who doesn’t give a crap.