RIP JD Salinger

I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in a big field of rye and all. ... Thousands of kids, and nobody big at all, nobody big but me. And I'm standing on the edge of this crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to come and catch them. If they start to fall ... and don't look where they're going. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all.

Sobbed my eyes out in the car listening to a prep school kid read these lines on NPR this afternoon.

I used to relate to JD Salinger because Holden Caulfield was a dissafected prep schooler, just like me. Then I related to JD Salinger (through the Joyce Maynard lens) because I was the sort of 18-year old Yalie who just might, under the right circumstances, have moved in with a 50+ man ...

Now I'm the sort of Mom who can't read or hear or watch anything about kids in harm's way. (Seriously -- NOTHING.) So those lines about Holden catching kids on the edge of a crazy cliff ... I literally wept, cried and cried so hard I nearly ran off the road.

And the little girl in the ocean before Seymour blows his brains out ... oh, that little girl! (See what I'm saying? It's not like she's the one who's about to go upstairs and pick up a gun ...) And Esme ... more love, less squalor, kid. You're the one I'm worried about, making it through with your faculties more or less intact.



Every year, I have really high hopes for my work. Not necessarily that I’ll sell any of it – I am a realist, a pragmatist, first and foremost – but that I’ll write it. That I’ll get my butt in the chair, and the words on the page. And I try to be specific about my goals – which projects I’ll focus on, and what the true, achievable goal for each project really is. And I write all these goals down, too (a practice that isn’t just a work thing, for me, but a family thing—Husband and I make a one-page goals list for our work, our health, our family, our finances, and post it on the mirror in our bathroom).

Anyway, sitting down to make a NEW goal’s list requires reviewing the old one. Here’s the play-by-play of WHAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO IN 2009:

* Complete 2nd draft of the novel by TAX DAY

Status: Absolute failure. Didn’t even LOOK at it in 2009. In the wake of Baby Gaga’s birth, the plot just started to seem totally empty and dumb. I did spend a little time completely re-imagining the entire structure, and considered turning it into 3 linked novellas … does that count as progress or procrastination?

*Complete 3rd draft of the novel by LABOR DAY and send to friends.

Status: See above.

*Write one more script with Co-Writer / advance partnership another level.

Status: Sort-of / Yes! We didn’t write one more script. But we came up with two concepts, for two new scripts. And we got our Big Shot Manager. And we took some Big Shot Meetings—one in studio bungalow! So that was fun.

*Complete Client’s sample chapter.

Status: Done!

*Write Client’s book if offered contract.

Status: Client didn’t pursue contract, so this stalled out totally NOT on my watch ;)

*Submit “DIRTY DARLENE” to 60 venues.

Status: Sold (sort of). Went out to 57 venues. Finally bought by Carve Magazine, for the Fall 2009 issue. That said, there seems to have been no Fall 2009 issue … hmm.

*Submit “JAMES DEAN, MY LOVE, MY COPY BOY” to 60 venues.

Status: In Progress. I’ve sent it out to 23 magazines, and in December I employed a Virtual Assistant in India to come up with 40 more. So we’ll see about that …

*Re-write “ALBERT & NANCY” to completion.

Status: Abandoned. I tried, I really did. But nothing I did fixed it. And then I started to lose hope. So at the moment, this story has been abandoned, despite my sister’s liking it. Sorry, sis.

*Re-write “MAYFLOWER IS A TRUCKSTOP” to completion.

Status: Complete! It’s now called “Nothing Will Prepare You,” it’s in submission, and it’s the best thing I have ever written. Ever.

*Re-write “SEVEN” to completion.

Status: Abandoned. I tried. But there was no “there” there. There just wasn’t.

* Re-write “HONEYMOON WHERE THE SUN NEVER SETS” to completion.

Status: Back in play! Ok, so I didn’t work on this last year … but I’m already nearly done with a new draft of this story, 8 days into the new years … so that’s something …

... and it’s not a bad segue into next week’s post …