Unrequired Reading: Jan. 29, 2010

Yeahyeah: first post in a while. I’m still struggling with my thoughts, writing, etc. I got re-walloped a few days ago by the news that a pal of mine from St. John’s dropped dead of an aneurysm at 36 last week (she was an undergrad when I was there as an, um, overgrad.) I have ups and downs, but I’m trying to get back to the regular posts — Unrequired Reading and What It Is — and hope to get around to some other stuff.

So just click “more” already!

Continue reading “Unrequired Reading: Jan. 29, 2010”

Enjoy the Silence

I was 16 and my high school english teacher, Rocco Gratale, was assigning term papers for the spring. I read over the list of novels that we could select for our subjects, and tried to go off the reservation. At the end of class, I asked him, “Do you mind if I do The Razor’s Edge, by Somerset Maugham?” My mom had that book on our shelf for years, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to read it.

My teacher said, “No, Gil. I think you want to do your term paper on The Catcher In The Rye.”

I’d never heard of it. I was all about the science fiction and the comic books back then. We were on pretty good terms, so I told him, “Geez, I’d sure like to do that Maugham book, Roc.”

“No, Gil. I think you want to do your term paper on The Catcher In The Rye.”

“Yes, Rocco. I’d . . . like to do my term paper on The Catcher In The Rye?”

I shudder to think of what aspects of my personality led him to “suggest” that book.

Now go read Ron Rosenbaum’s wonderful 1997 essay about Salinger. I never did get around to The Razor’s Edge, but I did see the movie a few years later.

What It Is: 4/6/09

What I’m reading: Franny and Zooey, and Top 10 Season Two.

What I’m listening to: Who Are You, some Neko Case.

What I’m watching: The final four and the premiere of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, which was scheduled on HBO to take the slot of Eastbound & Down.

What I’m drinking: Plymouth, Q Tonic and lime.

What Rufus is up to: Taking a 5-mile-plus hike up in Wawayanda on Sunday. And spending Monday in my new office, where he can chill out during the forecast thunderstorm.

Where I’m going: Nowhere in particular, although I may be heading into the city Thursday to gather up a friend of mine (and his dog) to attend our seder.

What I’m happy about: Baseball season starts! Springtime is here! Oh, and that my pal Chip Delany was profiled on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday.

What I’m sad about: That I’ve never tried Cel-Ray. I oughtta break my “gin, water & black coffee” New Year’s Resolution for that.

What I’m pondering: Whether Salinger has actually been writing all this time he’s been in seclusion. After reading all of his collected non-Catcher stuff in the last two weeks, and re-reading Ron Rosenbaum’s 1997 essay on his pilgrimage to Salinger’s driveway, I have a strong feeling that even if he is writing, he has no intention of publishing any of it. Guess I oughtta read that Hapworth 16, 1924 and see if that changes my mind.