5.17.2006

Raise High the Roofbeam, Bloggers

So I’ve started reading J.D. Salinger again. I pulled “Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction,” off the shelf, and read the second story, Seymour. They were published together, and the writing style, very typical of Salinger, is riotously hysterical. I love his writing. Some of the lines are excellent. For example:

“It is (to describe it figuratively) as if an author were to make a slip of the pen, and as if this clerical error became conscious of being such. Perhaps this was no error but in a far higher sense was an essential part of the whole exposition. It is, then, as if this clerical error were to revolt against the author, out of hatred for Iron, were to forbid him to correct it, and were to say, 'No, I will not be erased, I will stand as a witness against thee, that thou art a very poor writer.’”

Well, one of my favorite quotes of his comes from “Catcher in the Rye”:

“Boy, when you are dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a god dam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you are dead? Nobody.”

But back to Seymour:

“What I am, I think, is a thesaurus of undetached prefatory remarks about him [Seymour]. I believe I essentially remain what I’ve almost always been- a narrator, but one with extremely pressing personal needs. I want to introduce, I want to describe, I want to distribute mementos, amulets, I want to break out my wallet and pass around snapshots, I want to follow my nose.”

And the Best:

“But what, at least in modern times, I think one most recurrently hears about the curiously-productive-yet-ailing poet or painter is that he is invariably a kind of super-size but unmistakably “classical” neurotic, an aberrant who only occasionally, and never deeply, wishes to surrender his aberration; or, in English, a Sick Man who not at all seldom, though he’s reported to childishly deny it, gives out terrible cries of pain, as if he would wholeheartedly let go both his art and his soul to experience what passes in other people for wellness, and yet (the rumor continues) when his unsalutary-looking little room is broken into and someone- not infrequently, at that, someone who actually loves him- passionately asks him where the pain is, he either declines or seems unable to discuss it at any constructive clinical length, and in the morning, when even great poets and  painters presumable feel a bit more chipper than usual, he looks more perversely determined than ever to see his sickness run its course, as though by the light of another, presumably working day he had remembered that all me, the healthy ones included, eventually die, and usually with a certain amount of bad grace, but that he, lucky man, is at least being done in by the most stimulating companion, disease or no, he has ever known.”

And that, my friends, is my favorite sentence in all of literature that has graced my mammoth brain. It’s just superb. Despite the fact that it’s horribly long, he doesn’t rape and pillage the rules of English grammar. And what he says is meaningful I think. It’s just delightful. Scrumtrulescent.

But since J.D. Salinger has written most of this blog, I won’t go on about what I’ve been writing lately except that you should expect a post sometime tomorrow about what I’ve been  writing lately and how difficult it has been to continue with it. Don’t forget that, because if I do, I expect you, dear reader, to jog my memory, because if I know anything about my audience, I know they’ll look out for me, if for no other reason than for the sake of making sure I don’t stop posting. Or something.  

3 comments:

Horse N. Buggy said...

How often do you eat soy milk? Soy es not so bueno en muy tummy-o, if you catch my drift. I wouldn't be surprised if it "runs" in the family. I'm just sayin'.

The Polyglot said...

Well, it's not as unhappy in my tummy as milk milk.

Horse N. Buggy said...

You should try rice milk. It's very soothing.