Friday, July 6, 2012
this does not happen often, and so far as my history goes along, it only happens in Omaha, Nebraska. but as I am right now in Tampa, Florida, with this feeling of the treasure hunt upon me, I have to say, it is indeed happening, though the relics and symbols are in the hunter's path in a completely separate way. in a way. here it is:
whenever I am in Omaha, Nebraska, something strange takes hold of me and it seems that every idea I am kicking around in my skull can be explored in the simplest of ways. like times when I travel and it seems like all of the fruit trees are bending towards me wanted to be plucked from their past and find a new and unknown happening.
last time I was in Omaha I was working on a few short stories. I was writing this story while maintaining this constant conversation in my brain about Franny and The Way of a Pilgrim and the rest of the Glass family. Then I walked a few miles to the university's enormous library and found this very strange book (you can also find my very strange book in this library) on Salinger's Glass family. it was a mind blowing discovery. unfortunately, I left Omaha a day later and though I desperately wanted to steal the book, I did not. I have been unable to locate this book again. Like my very strange book, this Glass chronicle study was bound in red, plain red, with embossed gold lettering on the cover. very plain and just like mine, which leads me to believe it is a university publication of a thesis and I have to go back to Omaha to find it. And I am completely ready to do that. But
now I am in Tampa, working on a short story sequence and back to the same conversations in the brain about Salinger and the Glass chronicle and how I am going to go about teaching what I am currently on the treasure hunt for, which is mostly the development of archetypes and the universal influence they have. Mostly, I am interested in America from the 1920s to modern times and mostly I am interested in the roles of the rebel and the misfit and how these archetypes come about from youth culture of the time, and then are adopted and transformed by ongoing generations. and in relation to this, I am interested in how a writer can compel these archetypes so well that every generation finds the character relatable, and in that way, entirely influential. and then furthermore, I am interested in how these writers and these characters in these books become a major harboring influence on new generations of writers and filmmakers and though I know Salinger was a recluse, I read that he has an absurd bit of unpublished work that he deemed to be published postmortem. and I am bummed that I still cannot read it.
I've also read all of the horror show memoirs of ex wives and ex girlfriends and ex daughters on Salinger and all of that is a bore. there is a humor about the framework of subject in literature. for example, there are numerous biographies on Charles Manson, some are even sympathetic, most are marketed as "true crime". there are so many biographies because so many people read them. walk into any Barnes and Noble and I bet you a million squid and sea urchins that Mein Kampf is on the German History shelf in a subsection that houses numerous books on Hilter. And these books are automatically reordered right at the point of purchase. these books are always there because these books are always sold because these books are always read. there are always morbid curiosities, as there should be.
my long example is at the punch here: Manson and Hitler are shelved under the framework of the psyche as "universal evil" so it is okay for our morbid curiousities to read these books because we know these people were horror show. even the books that focus on Manson as a musician note that he is a nutter.
but juxtapose this against the Joan Crawfords, the J.D. Salingers and even the Marie Antoinettes. all with these sketch gray stigmas of unknown evils and most misremembered and misquoted (you know, the whole "let them eat cake" debacle). in these histories, it is all gray. in most history it is all gray-- there are very few cases of black and white and lines in the sand (as with Manson and Hitler).
I guess my point is, I mostly desire the Crawfords and Salingers. I want the rebels and the misfits and the recluses the ones that were so disassociated from universal standards of the time that they are erred upon and shunned and praised. I find it humorous. like any one, I could write a story with all the things that are spectacular about someone and then write another about all of the things that are the darkest and worst parts of that very same someone. and whichever story is better written, whichever story has a stronger archetype, a stronger space, then that is the one deemed true.
which is bullshit. because what is truth what is history what is nonfiction when it is so muddied up by the perspectives of the writer and the storyteller. it is all piecemeal parts of a whole. it is all limited by days and friendship and maybe by the breakups of all the parts and that writing that book is cathartic-- it is an excuse to move past the parts-- to put that part of the world to bed. which is no good reason for someone else to see the perspective as an absolute truth. what a bore the world would be if I believed everything I read.