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definitely not my Salinger year

Had a disturbing email yesterday from the director of the Whistler prize: she’d heard from the other finalists but not from me so was trying from a different address. It turned out that 2 weeks ago, her first email had for some unknown reason gone to my Yahoo spam file. She’d asked if I’d send 3 books immediately to B.C., plus a bio, a picture, the book cover etc. It was all supposed to have been done by last week.

Panic. In my haste I addressed the heavy parcel of books with the wrong address – the Whistler Writers’ Festival not the Whistler Book Awards, they’re different, who knew? When I got home and found out my mistake I rushed back to the post office to rewrite the address, to be told that because I’d sent the parcel Express – at a cost of $50 – I could neither take it back nor change it. 

Panic. However, luckily, once the books arrive at the wrong address, the director will get them forwarded in time for the judges to read. And judge. 

Do we need a little more stress in our lives? Emphatically no, and yet, there it is. A few months ago, I sent an essay to a friend who’s an editor at a literary magazine. After a few weeks, I wrote, sorry you didn’t like it, I’ll try again with another. She wrote back, Didn’t you get my email? I love it and want to run it!

That email, and the one from the competition, are the only ones that have gone to my Yahoo spam folder; I checked. Weird!

If possible, the awards people would like us to be there in October when the winner is announced. I can get there on points and am considering doing so. Any excuse to visit dear friends, including the mountains and the ocean. 

The other evening I started to watch “My Salinger Year,” about a wannabe writer who quits university to work for an eccentric, old-fashioned literary agent who handles J. D. Salinger. Sounded great. However, within 15 minutes, I’d given up; the heroine, a dewy 20-year old without a single interesting feature, tells the agent that her poems have won a literary prize and been printed in “The Paris Review.” Oh sure. And I’m Imelda Marcos. 

I went through an obsessive Salinger period in Grade 13, read everything, wanted to sound like Holden – finished every sentence with “and all” – revered the Glass family. Don’t do it, Seymour! But nowadays, Jerry has been tarred with the #MeToo brush. 

Saturday was shopping day – at the market, corn and peaches are in, hooray! And then to Doubletake, a shadow of its former self. However, I saw something in a bin and fished it out: a red leather wallet from Liberty of London, fabric by William Morris, for $1. I’m a simple woman. It takes so little to make me happy.



2 Responses to “definitely not my Salinger year”

  1. alandmillen says:

    Your mail mix-up story had me in a bit of state of serious agitation. When things go wrong … But the Salinger anecdote took me all the way back to Nanaimo in 1969-70 and my Grade 12 romance with a keen Salinger fan who referenced the Glass family constantly. I struggled to keep up with her. Raise high the roof beam…"and all" that.

  2. beth says:

    Yes, Alan, I was seriously agitated as I ran back to the post office and tried to wrestle the parcel from the clerk! I hope they get the books eventually. We Salinger girls must have been impossible … I wonder if people still read "Franny and Zooey" and the other books. I think "Catcher" will endure, but maybe not. Cheers to you.

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I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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