Fool On The Hill

A forty-five year non-publishing silence. Thats a lot of writers block. Or perfectionism. Or something else. Perhaps the paranormal. Conflicting accounts have emerged of what J.D. Salinger’s been doing in the years since the 1965 publication of his last story in The New Yorker, “Hapworth 16, 1924.” Since then, he’s been holed up in a hilltop house in New Hampshire. Salinger published one novel and several short story collections between 1948-59. His best-known work is catcher in the Rye from 1951 , a story about a rebellious teenage schoolboy and his quixotic experiences in New York.A disillusioned world view but written in a lively manner.It is his only novel. The book continues to sell almost 200,000 copies a year world wide.salinger1

”It’s pretty remarkable—amazing, isn’t it, when you think about it—that he stopped publishing when he was only 46, half a lifetime ago. He stopped publishing but may not have stopped writing. For all we know, he may be withholding what will turn out to be the eighth wonder of American letters. Or not.” ( Ron Rosenbaum, Slate )” The cult that reads The Catcher in the Rye as an endorsement of Holden Caulfield’s callow, purist point of view and obsessively badgered Salinger as a kind of guru could have driven him into hiding. In fact, I once wrote a piece in which I essentially blamed the assassination of John Lennon on the misreading of Catcher by assassin Mark David Chapman, who carried around a copy of the book and proclaimed that he had killed Lennon because he’d become a “phony,” just like the ones Holden hated. Of course, anyone who brings to Catcher a somewhat more sophisticated sensibility than Mark David Chapman, an awareness that novelists often use unreliable narrators and, you know, ironic distancing, can see that it’s a novel about the conflict between Holden’s naive and narcissistic juvenile romanticism (the world is full of “phonies”—duh!) and the kind of accommodations he needs to make to its corruption to survive.”salinger2

Salinger has  switched in and out of many religious beliefs and cults throughout the last 50 years, including but not limited to Yoga, Macrobiotics, Buddhism,Christian Science, Raelism, Blavatskyism, and all points in between and beyond. . He remains an unfathomable figure. Apparently, he continues to write,religiously, but refuses to publish or give interviews.He is 90 years old and no-one know what they will find on his hilltop manor when and if he passes away.Salinger brings to mind the Beatle’s song ”Fool on the Hill”which was released when Salinger went into hermit mode; as if his soul was lost in a chaotic maze, plunged into total desolation, as if he were in a pit of  personal hell. So closely identified with Holden Caulfield of Catcher in the Rye, that it remains a source of wealth, and a prison. …

"I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy."

"I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy."



when Paul was walking his dog Martha, on Primrose Hill one morning. As he watched the sun rise, he noticed that Martha was missing. Paul turned around to look for his dog, and there a man stood, who appeared on the hill without making a sound. The gentleman was dressed respectably, in a belted raincoat. Paul knew this man had not been there seconds earlier as he had looked in that direction for Martha. Paul and the stranger exchanged a greeting, and this man then spoke of what a beautiful view it was from the top of this hill that overlooked London. Within a few seconds, Paul looked around again, and the man was gone. He had vanished as he had appeared. A friend of McCartney’s, Alistair Taylor, was present with Paul during this strange incident, and wrote of this event in his book, Yesterday.”

Perhaps Salinger’s pilgrimages  from faith to spiritual movements were attempts at achieving religious ecstasy and a substitute for moving from lover to lover.He may be a shaman. Like the Fool on the Hill, he may have mastered bilocation and lives in several places simultaneously as well as having the ability to read souls. He may be in seclusion to protect the public.”I’ve heard unofficial reports that he’s produced several novels whose manuscripts—like Laura‘shave been stashed in a bank’s safe-deposit vault. Or that there are manuscript pages stacked to the ceiling in his house but no certainty about their state of completion.”

This entry was posted in Miscellaneous, Modern Arts/Craft and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Fool On The Hill

  1. mason mckibben says:

    Can one write and withhold overlong without either ceasing to write or ceasing to withhold?

    I guess individuals (be they vultures or not) have to decide for themselves what is best concerning Nabokov, Salinger or Kafka and their “estates.” Who knows what today’s or tomorrow’s individual(s) will think. Tomorrow Never Knows, but i can’t resist wondering about what the final arbitration might yield to the most significant consensus.

    I’m thinking of Bettelheim instead of today’s sources and vultures. I am also thinking of all the terrible accommodations i have taken and needed. Thanks for another heartrending piece.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>