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R.I.P. J.D.

January 28, 2010

EXPOSITION: I have a certain friend who I’ve been calling Sarah in this blog, mainly because that’s her name. We were coworkers at what was, at the time, a moribund independent bookstore; it is now long dead. Our friendship germinated in section 106 (Literature) – not to be confused with the comparatively crass, vulgar section 403 (Fiction) – and is now at a point where basically the only complaint I have is that she has thus far turned a deaf ear to my earnest pleas that she become my agent. As if we’re not an empire just waiting to happen. Who would fuck with either one of us? Nobody. Anyway, for the past couple years, our friendship has been rooted in three core elements:

  • praise of good writing/mockery of terrible writing
  • bluntness
  • anticipation of J.D. Salinger’s death (**FORESHADOWING**)

RISING ACTION: Earlier this month, a week and a half into my Vancouverings, Sarah and I were e-mailing back and forth, and one of her notes ended with:

“Also, can you believe Salinger is 91 years old?” (**MORESHADOWING**)

(Both of us have always kept ourselves apprised of the Salinger situation due to the third bullet point above: not in a ghoulish way but as SuperFans who feel that the man has had a good long life, hasn’t exactly been out experiencing the world anyway, and, what with not having published anything in so many decades, probably has a house full of amazing manuscripts that we are extremely interested in reading.)

Toward the end of my reply e-mail, I wrote:

“I know it’s terrible but I am stoked for Salinger to die. I’ve been waiting for it since I read The Catcher in the Rye. (That was almost a rhyming couplet. Maybe I’ll write a poem on this subject and read it on the 4th.)”

And, in fact, last week, I did start writing the poem. I’ve got a solid draft. It’s a somewhat tasteless but overall clearly unmalicious, tongue-in-cheek, metrically admirable, generally Katey type poem. It’s hanging out in my hard drive, waiting to be edited. “R.I.P. J.D.,” it’s called.

CLIMAX: J.D. Salinger passed away yesterday. Holy shit!!!

FALLING ACTION: I don’t know what to do about the reading next week. The poem is an affectionate tribute to a writer whose work I respect and want to read way more of. I had intended it to finish it by next Thursday and try it out on what will allegedly be a supportive audience.  But now that he is actually dead, I don’t know if I should do it. Should I do it? On the one hand, I feel like all this crazy timing can be interpreted as divine support for the enterprise. On the other hand, I sometimes don’t have a very good sense of where the line is. It’s my first reading and none of these people know me – with the exception, I guess, of a handful who will have heard the diarrhea poem last Saturday. Maybe if I explained the back story it would be acceptable? Maybe still not?

RESOLUTION: Suggestions welcome…

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