Dear J D Salinger,
I envy you. I envy you for the privacy you have been enjoying for over half a century.
There was a time when I used to accuse you of being an escapist. You ran away from the world like a coward, I said. You were not much different from your character, Holden Caulfield, I surmised. I lamented that you were squandering the wealth of your literary skills that could deliver so many delightful and inspiring novels to us.
I am now sorry for all that. I now understand that you did the right thing by moving away from the world of men and living your life in your own private world.
I long for such a world of my own, a world into which no one will intrude without my permission, a world in which I won’t even feel the need to write a letter like this.
Holden Caulfield must have been your own prototype. I think he is mine too. He wanted to run away from the world of men and live a romantic life in a wooden cabin in some place far away from men. But he didn’t follow his dream and hence ended up in the loony bin. You followed Holden’s dream and lived a happy life (presumably) and a pretty long one too. If you hadn’t followed Holden’s dream, would New York (or wherever else you chose to set up your nest) have driven you mad, literally? It cannot be without some serious reason that you chose to hide yourself from the world of people.
It is not without some such serious reason that I long to hide myself from the world of people.
It is not that I hate the world. Holden didn’t either. Nor did you, I’m sure, your legal battles against your unauthorised biographies notwithstanding. Maybe, you just didn’t know how to worm your way through the web that people wove around you. Maybe, what you thought were plain delights of life were projected by some well-wisher of yours as serious offences against the society or threats to your own health. Maybe, they tried to cash in on your talents and skills like the Dracula feeding on others’ blood.
Whatever the reasons, the world made you feel sick. It makes me feel so too. So I am dreaming of my own New Hampshire. Right now I can only dream of it. But in a few years I’ll be there.
Be my inspiration until then.