Of course, when I was young, I went through a Salinger phase. J.D. Salinger, that is. It began in seventh grade, when I was reading "Up The Down Staircase," by Bel Kaufman, and his signature work, "The Catcher In The Rye," was referred to as a "dirty book." At that age, anything that was remotely forbidden I wanted to get my hands on, so I read it. The title was not dirty, nor did I find the contents especially so. It wasn't till years later, and several more readings, I learned it was the narrative of a young man confined to a mental institution due to his inability to navigate the troublesome environment that was the World.
If Holden thought he had it difficult,then, I feel sorry for the kids his age now. Nevertheless, I connected more with the Glass Family, than Holden. They were exploited by their parents on a radio quiz show called, "It's A Wise Child." I was a wise child, too, and I wanted so much to be exploited. So now I exploit myself. "Franny and Zooey" remains my favorite of Salinger's work. For a time, I considered him the Truth Teller, but as my adolescence waned, so did my attachment to Salinger. I still admire his writing, only now for the memories of a time that was, rather than a truth I thought he told.
Around the same time I discovered songwriter Leonard Cohen, more through his song coverings by the likes of Judy Collins and Joan Baez. I got a full dose of Cohen the writer and performer, when I first saw Robert Altman's 1971 film, "McCabe And Mrs. Miller," which was permeated with songs that heightened the moments taking place. My favorite here was "The Stranger."
So, when he passed, at 82, on November 7, I felt a genuine truth teller had been lost. I mean, "Sisters Of Mercy," that just about says it all. The lyrics were timeless, revealing and probing. They touched the mind, as they touched the heart. This last was something Salinger never touched, which was why he failed as a truth teller. Leonard Cohen was the genuine item.
Here are "Suzanne" and "Sisters Of Mercy!!!!!!!!" Rest In Peace, Leonard!!!!!!!!!!!!