JD Salinger died on the 27th of last month at the age of 91. Anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave has probably heard that news by now, and there’s been no shortage of tributes to him in the last days and weeks. But while I’ve wanted to say something about his passing–to mark it in some way, at least for myself as both an admirer of his work and as a person who was changed by his stories–I just can’t help but feel the one thing he wouldn’t want is tribute. Here’s what he has Holden Caulfield say about about the idea of memorials:
“I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.”
So rather than drone on or indulge, I think the most telling thing I can say about my feelings on Salinger are in Salinger’s own words:
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
Rest in peace, J.D. Salinger.