With yesterday’s news of the passing of J.D. Salinger I had a thought about “Catcher in the Rye”. I first read the book in 2001. I went to Washington D.C. for a writing convention. I bought the book a few days before my flight to D.C. I had known of the book for a very long time, I just never read it until that time. I had been married for almost two years at the time and left my wife at home to go the convention. We didn’t have the money at the time for both of to go. In retrospect, I was a bit like Holden going to D.C. the way he went into the city.
I made my way to D.C., sat in on a bunch of workshops that had to do with writing. I had the most fun on my last day in D.C. Remember this was a month before 9/11 and flying was easier. I didn’t have to be there an hour or two early as I do when flying now. Getting on the plane and coming home was a breeze. We now know that the lack of security is how 9/11 happened.
I remember after I checked into the hotel I wanted to go and walk around for a while. I stayed at the Hilton in Du Pont circle. I remember walking down the street looking at all the shops and noticing the tunnel that led to the subway. I had never been on a subway and found the whole experience quite awesome.
I had very little time in D.C. I went to the mall with some friends. It was August and it the smell of rain permeated through the mall. The reflecting pools absent of water, making them look like a mud bath, not the way I had always envisioned the mall. Making our past the trees and dirt on the mall I was very disappointed that the mall looked so bad. I have not been back since.
I did everything I could do on the last day. I went to the Jefferson Memorial, The Holocaust museum, the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. The last one because I have always been interested in flight. Going to the Holocaust Museum was a sobering experience and one that I will never forget. The National Gallery of Art and the Gallery of Modern Art was amazing.
I did a lot of things on that trip and for a few years after that I stopped writing anything other than poetry. I became bored with short stories and trying to turn them into longer stories which they were not. In the last year I have had many hardships as everyone has, the economy sucks, although I do feel we are coming out of the tunnel in that respect. I am sure everyone has something like my trip to D.C., whether they remember it or not.
Till the dawn,