How well I remember that morning or afternoon…

January 29, 2010

catcher jacket 220I suppose I’m doing the same thing a lot of journalists are doing today, dusting off  my J.D. Salinger interview.

When I went knocking on his door to chat with him so many years ago, he told me what he told everybody else: “Bob, I’ll talk to you, but you can only write about it when I’m gone.”

That was our pact, and I kept it until the reclusive writer died this week at his home in New Hampshire.

Once I agreed to his terms he invited me in, made some Tang, and it was yakety-yak, all afternoon.

I could barely shut him up and get away when my reporting shift was over that day, but heck, I wasn’t going to work past 5 p.m., not for anybody.

SALINGER I still remember sitting in that vibrating easy chair in Salinger’s TV room. I hadn’t read any of his stuff, but my yellowing Reporter’s Notebook shows that my opening question was: “‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is the best baseball book ever written. Will it be a movie?”

We went on from there to discuss Salinger’s passion for roller coasters and Heckle and Jeckle cartoons, his distrust of Dutch people, and his firm belief that one day Ronald Reagan would be president. Of course he already was, so that wasn’t such a stretch.

As I was leaving, he thrust a bundle of his unpublished manuscripts into my hand and said, “When you get a chance, let me know what you think of ‘em.” They’re still around here somewhere, I saw them just the other day.

The bidding starts in the COMMENTS section of this blog. Raise high the advance check, publishers!

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Top: cover, “Catcher in the Rye”

Bottom: One of a collection of 32 letters written by author J.D. Salinger to his daughter Margaret over a period of 35 years beginning in 1958.

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43 comments

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“If a body catch a body in the rye…” I’ve always wanted to a catcher in the rye myself.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Another post that speaks of something and someone I dont know.. (Another comtemplative look, while biting my lower lip.:))

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

I tend to forget about “A Perfect Day for a Bananafish.” Another great book.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

I hate to be serious here, Shra, but read the book. You will like it.

Posted by T54 | Report as abusive

Shra I am with you on this. I know nothing of Salinger nor did I read “Catcher in the Rye”.

Looks like I am gonna be warming the bench on this one.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

“‘The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.’”

“The Catcher in the Rye, Mr. Antolini, quoting Stekel.

This essentially states the difference between my youth and my adultery. ;)

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Wow, he sends less than one letter a year, and calls himself a writer? Hmmph!

Posted by BethyB | Report as abusive

Unca! I want waffles… I think this would be dded to m list of blogs where my comments are irrelevant to the content of the blog…
T54.. I would seriously think of reading this one..
Mr.Pilot, welcome to the bench, mate!
Adultery, my dear Doc??

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Happy to be here Shra! I am gonna warm the hell outta this bench here! Everyone has got to do their part right?

Hey while we are here hows about we Google some vids containing explosions and puppies and make a grand ‘ol time of it. :)

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Lets go boom boom!!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

I never read the Catcher in the Rye.

I did read the prequel though. The Farmer in the Dell.

:))

E.

Posted by egeria | Report as abusive

Isn’t “adultery” just the status of being an adult? What’s the difference between bam bam and boom boom?

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Do you guys mind moving over just a bit? The rest of the bench is awfully cold and my backside is far from warm. Then we can all watch puppies go boom… Or was it something else?

Posted by justM | Report as abusive

“Where the Red Fern Grows” was a very good book. To bad about the dogs though. I surprisingly liked “The Grapes of Wrath”. I am gonna say it was the predecessor for all cliff-hanger endings everywhere.

I took a brief ten year hiatus from reading when my parents got me my first TV at the ripe old age of I believe around 15 or so. That’s also around the time I put my imagination on hold and discovered the wonderful art of dazing out.

Within the last few years I had re-discovered books. A lot of people got me books revolving around aviation (obviously) that came with pretty pictures of airplanes. My imagination has started stretching itself out from its long slumber. Theses days I mainly use TV as backround noise while I conquer the world of FarmVille.

I will not give up N.C.I.S. though. Every once in a while I will throw on the dvds and have a maraton. I still weep when Kate got shot at the end of season two. :(

Hey, I never said I would warm the bench quietly.

So Shra, what say you?

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Room for one more on the bench? *squeezes in*

@ifly – I thought Grapes of Wrath was Steinbeck? That one I have read.

All about making things go boom, or bang, or ka-boom even. Nothing like roughly 1700 pounds of C-4 all burning at once. Ahhhh, the good old days.

Posted by Dave_not_dave | Report as abusive

Wow! I’ve been on the bench on TWO different conversations on the very same post! I think I am edging to OD-ing on the Vicodin here…

Posted by justM | Report as abusive

Hey M welcome to the bench. Pull up some pine and make yourself comfortable.

Uncarastus… see ya got me there. I read those books quite a long time ago. They were required reading for a middle school class. Being that my memory serves me for about ten minutes the details have far left me for greener pastures.

What do you think of NCIS: Los Angeles? I myself am not too partial to it.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

I like the rabbit stamp. :)

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

Your interview with Dan Quayle you won’t shut up about, and this you keep a secret. When are you going to release your Howard Hughes podcast?

Posted by johncabell | Report as abusive

The Grapes of Wrath. I read that as an undergrad. While reading the feeding scene near the end of the novel, the professor looked up from his podium, looked at us over his glasses, and said: “This should tell you something about the level of ingenuity of these people.” True story.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

I can’t talk now, John. I’m working on a photo of me and J.D. together.

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

I have no clue who wrote Grapes of Wrath Dave, I just know I read it waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy back in the day.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

I won’t say John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath. That would be teaching, which is forbidden.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

I reread Salinger’s shortstory “A Perfect Day for a Bananafish” today. As close to a perfect shortstory as one can get, in my opinion. So charming, so beautiful, so haunting. Leo Tolstoy told Anton Checkhov that one his stories was like a fine lace doily. I think that holds true for Salinger’s “Bananafish.”

Here I go, relapsing into a professor of literature. Well, I told you all I was an English professor in recovery.

Here is a link to the version originally printed in The New Yorker. But Beware. The ending is very thought provoking and, as I said, haunting.

http://www.freeweb.hu/tchl/salinger/perf ectday.html

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

BG – Stooping to photoshop, are you?

Who else has to die for you to clue us in on the famous people you have interviewed?

*getting splinters in my butt, time to get back to work*

Posted by Dave_not_dave | Report as abusive

Dave, it’s not so much the famous people I’ve interviewed, it’s mostly the ones who have taken out Temporary Restraining Orders against me. More later.

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Mr. Pilot.. dont you think its getting tooooo crowded on the bench… I am getting squeezed in here…. and frankly, I love reading.. but I havent read Steinback.. yet.. planning to soon then.. what would you guys (Dr, Unca, Dave,M, K, RCB, Crowgirl, E, LMR, Mr.Pilot, CAM and loads of others out there!!) suggest to be my first Steinback read?

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Oh and I LOVE NCIS! And CSI: New York…. hate the Maimi part tho.. the actors are too much to handle…
And I love Abby… she is like the ONLY Goth I have ever seen… I mean, I have seen Goths walking up and down the street and they look pretty interesting… but she is sooooooo cool! And Zeva is like the kick-ass girl… very inspiring….
Gibbs…. well…. I could sit in that basement watching him work on the boat for a very loong time… :)

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Shra,

For Steinbeck I recommend Of Mice and Men, or The Pearl. Grapes of Wrath of course although I always thought that would make a great name for a wine label!!

And for crime dramas (that are soooo unlike reality it’s hilarious), I like CSI and Criminal Minds.

So is this bench wamed up enough? I brought popcorn!

:D

E.

Posted by egeria | Report as abusive

Very good taste, E. I can’t top that Steinbeck list, though I would also add “Cannery Row.”

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

What do you mean TV crime dramas are not reality? They must be true; they’re on TV!

Actually, prosecuting attorneys have told me that TV fictional crime dramas are having an impact on real life criminal prosecutions. Jurors who watch TV crime fiction carry expectations into real courtrooms based upon what they have seen on television. It has become much harder to convict accused criminals.

That really sounds stupid, doesn’t it? But nobody ever underestimated the stupidity of the American public. As one person I know put it, think how stupid the average American is. Half of Americans are more stupid than that.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Tim is cute, Unca.. ;)
I love the bench!!!! Group hug people!!!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Shra, if there is any Steinbeck book with pictures of nice shiny airplanes in it then I would say that would be my choice for your first read. Otherwise I dunno, I am not so cultured in literature to be able to participate in such discussions. That’s why I am warming the bench here.

I am and will always be a Kate guy. I like Ziva, she is very expressive but she is no Kate.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Kate your kind, Mr.Pilot? Brunnette?? ;) (eyebrows racing up and down!)

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Well Shra as I have mentioned brunnette is one of my three favorite “B”s. ;)

Ya know uncarastus, I did see “The Real NCIS” on the military channel. They went through a case that took them 13 years and a couple of lucky breaks to solve. Totally nothing like on tv… pretend tv that is… where everything is solved in an hour. And there was most certainly no Gibb-sy shenanigans.

And there was no Kate

cause she was shot

at the end of season two

and my life would never be the same.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

How about girls with black hair? :P

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Yup Shra, black hair is perfectly acceptable. :)

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

(secretly thanking my stars… :P)

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

I should amend my three favorite “B”s into the quartet of my favorite “B”s.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

(giggling uncontrollably and caring a damn that the guy sitting across my cubicle is looking at me as if I have gone bonkers… but he is smirking a little too.. such a pity he is NOT cute!)

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Such a pity indeed cause then you coulda caught eyes, smiled, introduced him to the wonderful world that is the OE blog and it would have been lurve. :p

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Mr.Pilot, believe me… I have been sitting across this guy for 8 months now… and I know he is not worth the OE blog… we are classy commenters after all…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Indeed we are Shra, indeed we are.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive