Wednesday, June 3, 2009

On Writers

When I was a teenager, I got hold of a copy of Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I think my Mom had recommended it. Anyway, I was so thrilled with Salinger's style, that informal way he had of writing a sentence that made you part of that moment in time he'd captured.

I literally spent the day with Salinger; as I recall, I sat down to read the book and didn't get up until I was finished.

It's like I made that moment in time -- captured by Catcher in the Rye -- part of my own moment in time.

As a kid, I read books voraciously. Routinely, I checked out of the library as many books as our local branch allowed - I think it was 10 books. Each night I read late into the night, until my Mom would yell upstairs to turn out my bedroom light.

Never one to read by flashlight, I went through a phase where I simply kept my light on all night because I often stayed up to read so late into the evening, that I'd drift in and out of sleep. Without the light, if I woke up, I'd feel disoriented. Bad habit that took years to break.

Jonathan Franzen's writing piques the same mental salivary glands that Salinger's Catcher in the Rye did for me way back when. I can't get enough of it, and with every sentence another frame of of that fictional world is built in my mind. I love that feeling.

Franzen's got a short story in The New Yorker this week and when I spotted it in the table of contents, I let out a silent "yipeee!" Just like I do when I see something by David Sedaris or Patricia Marx, or even Steve Martin appear on that page.

Check out the Franzen story and let me know what you think. Go ahead. Comment at will!

No comments: