Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Booked in Brooklyn; Swimming in Salinger

Downtown Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza, upon whose benches I used to sip coffee and stare into pigeon sweeps a lifetime ago as a fac-boy at Saint Ann's, was hot on Sunday. It was even hotter at the focal points of the sun, where the booth (table, really) for A Public Space seemed strategically centered.

So I arrived late, shielded by cap and sunglasses and dashing frequently to the shaded southern leg to hover beside the ChinMusic Press booth (table, actually), grateful for bouts of companionship with Craig and Ashley and the alibi of looking busy and engaged rather than just overheated and hiding.

After the early afternoon fire, it was great convening with Brigid, meeting Steven and Kelly and Renee, and sipping then strolling with Barry along the promenade.
I scurried back to bury myself in Salinger's Nine Stories, and, of course, reencounter Seymour's suicide in "Bananafish." Now finishing an essay on the book for Shibata's Monkey Business literary journal in Japan, it's hard not to think of such levels of intelligence, and of writing and the pain that surges through the best of it, and of my selfish feelings of a prematurely bookended world in Foster Wallace's sudden absence:

'the ceremony of innocence is drowned;
the best lack all conviction, while the worst
are full of passionate intensity.'

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