The fraigle/tragic mind of JD Salinger

la_ca_0828_salingerOf course Salinger was nuts. It’s pretty much accepted now that he actually was Holden Caulfield, and last year I read an incredibly hearbreaking biography which shows just how disturbed and crazy he was, mostly from the results of horrific experiences in the second world war (he was with the first to enter the notorious Nazi concertraiton camp Dachau). This is a guy who told his own daughter “You never really get the smell of burning flesh out of your nose entirely, no matter how long you live.” Without a doubt these experiences messed his already fragile mind up. Still he had “it”. That magic that few people are born with, such artistic brilliance and natural talent that whatever happens in your life, you create art. I’m counting the days till the paperback release of Joanna Rakoff’s “My Salinger Year”, about her experiences as Salinger’s literary agent in the late 1990’s.

Until then there was a fascinating program on BBC radio a couple of weeks about looking at the spiritual life of Salinger which I really recommend you listen to here. He was heavily into Hinduism philosophy, and a rather extreme form of Buddhism. But then again he mixed up elements of Christianity and Scientology. Basically the guy was lost, confused and didn’t know what to do. Life seemed meaningless and empty to him, and he never quite figured things out. Like I said my overflowing emotion towards Saligner is sadness. But then, I’ll read Franny and Zoeey or Catcher in the Rye and just be knocked senseless by the beauty and elegance of those words.

salwroteOnce you’ve heard that cool program you might like to hear a song by a band called Airport Girl. It’s called “What Salinger Wrote“. It’s not on youtube or soundcloud but you can hear it on this link.

I’m off to Romania now for a week for Open Hands Charity. We’ve got much to do over there, and I’m going to pick up a book at the airport to keep me going.Maybe the new Matthew Thomas “we are not ourselves“.

I’m really excited about the new album from Emma Kupa later this month. But I’ll write about that, and the awesome new surprisingly loud single from sun kil moon when I’m back.

bis bald 🙂

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JD Salinger mystery man

Funny, but for a “writer” (even an occasional one) I use to hate books at school. We had to read Thomas Hardy and all that stuff that just bored me senseless. One day, age 15, my brother threw a copy of “catcher in the Rye” into my room and said I should read it because the guy in it is like me. It sounded crazy, and thank God he was wrong, but after I read JD Salinger my life was never the same again. I had no idea literature could be so exciting, so transforming and so powerful. The way it could haunt your dreams, make you think about life and question your place in it After I read “catcher in the rye” I went straight onto “on the road” and never looked back.

Unlike Kerouac who laid his life open for all to see, Salinger was secretive. Nobody knew anything about him. When he died a couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to write a piece about him for a little book magazine here in England, but I still didn’t know much about him and nobody seemed to know anything.

So now there is this film and book tie-in, take a look at the little clip. It looks awesome.