Monday, February 01, 2010

JD Salinger has passed away on 27 Jan 2010 at the age of 91.

I have only ever read one of his works, The Catcher in the Rye, and it's one of my favourite YA books. No-one has ever painted the disillusionment towards life in a young, optimistic heart as well as him. Holden Caulfield's cynicism stems from the opportunities he thinks he is denied, and the pretentiousness of the people around him. Nonetheless, it is obvious he is always ready to believe the best in people, and the world. It's tough to portray that through a character's actions and his voice, but Salinger nailed it, creating a hero readers sympathise with and root for.

Salinger, I read, was a very reclusive writer, never gave interviews or the like. I just wish he'd written more about Holden; I was so sorry when I got to the end of the story. Salinger's awesome, even better, imo, than Jack Kerouac (at least, comparing The Catcher in the Rye and On the Road).

On a different note, literary agent Nathan Bransford asked this question: How Did You Come Up With the Idea for Your WIP?

The thing about Shiny New Ideas (phrase coined from writer Erica Orloff) is that as a writer, you want to know how other writers get inspired, but can't explain it yourself either when others ask you. You shrug and say, "Everywhere, I guess."

For my stories, as Triv commented before, most of the conflict internally - literally. Most of my main characters are mentally disturbed, or at least detached from reality, because I think mentally disturbed people make good material for stories. I am interested in how some people retreat into a world they've created for themselves (is it a defense mechanism? or a delusion of grandeur that stems from a need to fill an emotional void? and so on) and how they straddle the line between detachment and insanity.

Red December Skies started as a setting (Marina South pier), then the character of Jerry, who was inspired by Lei of Meteor Garden. And then the problem of the protagonist, Ethel, just developed itself, and that's that.

I'm at Singapore, Asia and American Power lecture now (yes, multi-tasking as usual), and Prof Hamilton-Hart's telling us how NUS has, since its conception (or should I use establishment? oh, my diction's screwed today), adopted an American-style curriculum. Apparently, SM Goh had the vision of NUS as the 'Harvard of the East' (the point: instead of 'Oxford of the East').

Anyway, this semester is proving to be more hectic than sem 1, even though I'm only taking 4 modules. So. Many. Papers. To. Write. I don't even want to contemplate next semester, where I have to take 6 modules to compensate for the 1 module I didn't take this sem (I think I explained before that I dropped my NM module last minute because I decided to change my Minor from that to Econs).

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