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Scott Lax Blog

J.D. Salinger

J.D. Salinger died. He gave us great literature that changed the way America and the world thought about stories. As for his personal life, he wanted to keep that private. I know a member of his immediate family, and my thoughts go out to that person and anyone else associated with J.D. Salinger who cared about him as a man.

Salinger gave voice to my generation's disaffection with established cultural values, decades earlier than they manifested in the culture itself; that influence continues. He certainly influenced my writing and my view of life and he entertained me. I couldn't have asked for more of him as a writer.

At a writers' conference last year, I gave a presentation. A young man, maybe in his early twenties, came up to me after my talk. He told me that CATCHER IN THE RYE and my novel, THE YEAR THAT TREMBLED, were his favorite novels. While I would never compare TREMBLED with CATCHER, he was likely saying that both coming-of-age stories evoked something important in him.

The larger point is: a writer is charged with trying to evoke something in his or her readers. It's not to be a role model -- as a writer. (As a father, husband, etc., that's different.) That's ultimately the writer's job - to evoke feelings and thoughts. And that's all. May Salinger rest in peace.  Read More