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Life Arts    H4'ed 1/29/10

My Exclusive Interview With J.D. Salinger

JB: It's nice here in New Hampshire. Very quiet.

JDS: I like my privacy.

JB: So I've heard.

JDS: Where'd you hear that?

JB: It's common knowledge, Mr. Salinger

JDS:Call me Jay.People who don't much like me just call me Salinger. Like "Hey Salinger, you a**hole, get your butt over here." My wife does that sometimes.

JB: You're married?

JDS: Sure, tied the knot years ago. Almost thirty years now.

JB: Who is your wife?

JDS: Ellen Salinger. Maiden name was Hudsucker. Met her at a racetrack in Daytona.

JB: Does she have a profession? Does she write?

JDS: Yeah, she has a profession. She's a professional ball buster. And she writes all the Christmas cards and thank you notes.

JB: I'm actually amazed that you granted me this interview.

JDS: Guess I had a few drinks too many. We met at Snookie's Tavern last night, right?

JB: Yes. When you told me your name I could hardly believe it.

JDS: Why? It's just a name.

JB: I'm sure you're aware that there's been a lot of mystery about you.

JDS: Like what?

JB: They say you're a hermit.

JDS: Who's they?

JB: People in New York literary circles.

JDS: Been there once. I don't much like New York. Too many cars. But I do kinda like the Yankees. Think you could get me an autograph of Chuck Norris?

JB: I don't cover show business, but I can try.

JDS: And people there think I'm a hermit?

JB: People say you live alone, never go out, never see other people.

JDS: Well that's hogwash.

JB: I wanted to ask about your books.

JDS: Sorry, don't read much anymore. Bad eyesight.

JB: Is that what's kept you from writing all these years?

JDS: Pretty much. The wife does the bills and such. I used to wear glasses but people said they made me look like a fish, which they did.

JB: People have said you're working on something huge.

JDS: What people would that be?
JB: People in the book community.

JDS: The book community?

JB: Yes, the book community.

JDS: Oh, I see. The "book community." Tell you the truth, I don't gamble anymore, so I'm not really in touch with the "book community" as you put it.

JB: So, are you working on something huge?

JDS: As a matter of fact, I am. How'd you know?

JB: Speculation. Can you tell me about it?

JDS: It's a secret.

JB: Please.

JDS: Okay, but don't tell anyone. Promise?

JB: My lips are sealed.

JDS: Two words: Trailer home"

JB: So that's the title?

JDS: I wouldn't know what the hell else to call it.

JB: How's it coming? Are you close to being done with it?

JDS: Give it another year or so.

JB: And you've been working on "Trailer Home" for how long?
JDS: Seems like forever. It's very complicated.

JB: How complex is it?

JDS: Real complex. But if I do it right, I figure I can retire off it.

JB: You think it will do that well?
JDS: By the time I'm done, it'll be a classic.

JB: Wow! No kidding? How long is it?

JDS: About sixteen, maybe seventeen.

JB: Wow, that's pretty long.

JDS: Well, it's got to house about 8 people.

JB: Your characters?

JDS: Some of them are real characters, all right. Like my brother-in-law. He tried to bungee jump off the bridge down by the four corners. Bungee cord was too long. Gave him a concussion when he hit the water. He ain't been the same since.

JB: So these are real people?

JDS: Yup.

JB: Tell me about Holden Caulfield.

JDS: Well, as cornfields go, it's one of the best in the area. Old man Houlton has some kind of secret irrigation set-up down there and he's pretty protective of it. You go down to Houlton's cornfield and snoop around and he'll soon as blow your head right off with his shotgun.

JB: That's very funny. But I meant the book. "Catcher in the Rye."

JDS: And I told you, it's corn, not rye. You want rye you have to go to the next county. That's where they grow the rye. Who is it you're lookin' to catch in the rye anyway?

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John Blumenthal has been a professional comedy writer for 25 years. A former associate editor and columnist at Playboy Magazine (following a short stint at Esquire), he's written 8 books and 2 produced movies. His films include "Short Time," (major (more...)
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