Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Edgar Allan Poe and James Whitcomb Riley

Today is a day of two anniversaries. On this date in 1849, Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore at age forty. The circumstances of his death remain mysterious. Also on this date in 1849, James Whitcomb Riley was born in Greenfield, Indiana. Two generations, six hundred miles, and the veil of death separated them. How could they ever have been connected? Both were poets. Of the two, only Edgar Allan Poe was published in Weird Tales. Riley could have been, as he wrote about ghosts, witches, and goblins. His verse even earned him a place in Dark of the Moon: Poems of Fantasy and the Macabre, edited by August Derleth and published by Arkham House in 1947. Poe was also in that volume, as were H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith, among many others. But that wasn't a connection so much as an association. The connection between Poe and Riley was far older than that. It had come about seventy years before, in fact, in July 1877, when Riley, then twenty-seven, conspired to perpetrate a hoax on the reading public by passing off his poem "Leonainie," as an undiscovered work by Edgar Allan Poe. On August 2, 1877, the Kokomo Dispatch, its editor in on the hoax, published the poem:

Leonainie--angels named her;
And they took the light
Of the laughing stars and framed her
In a smile of white:
And they made her hair of gloomy
Midnight, and her eyes of bloomy
Moonshine, and they brought her to me
In the solemn night.--

In a solemn night of summer,
When my heart of gloom
Blossomed up to meet the comer
Like a rose in bloom;
All the forebodings that distressed me
I forgot as joy caressed me--
(Lying joy that caught and pressed me
In the arms of doom!)

Only spake the little lisper
In the angel-tongue;
Yet I, listening, heard her whisper,--
"Songs are only sung
Here below that they may grieve you--
Tales are told you to deceive you--
So must Leonainie leave you
While her love is young."

Then God smiled and it was morning,
Matchless and supreme;
Heaven's glory seemed adorning
Earth with its esteem:
Every heart but mine seemed gifted
With the voice of prayer, and lifted
Where my Leonainie drifted
From me like a dream.

It didn't take long for the hoax to fall through. Newspapers all over the country were quick to recognize it and to comment on the poem and its then unknown author:

From the New York Evening Post (Aug. 7): ". . . a poetic sin has been laid at [Poe's] door . . . ."

From the Philadelphia Commonwealth (Aug. 8): "The gin mills of Maryland and the Old Dominion never turned out liquor bad enough to debase the genius of Poe to the level of these wretched verses."

From the Baltimore American (Aug. 9): "The unfortunate poet [Poe] was no doubt guilty of many indiscretions, but it is hard to suppose that in his most eccentric mood he could ever have penned such wretched doggerel as that which is now attempted to be fastened on him under the name of 'Leonainie'."

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Aug. 9): "The composition is wild enough to have been written under the influence of Egyptian or Terre Haute whiskey, and possesses, therefore, what an eminent journalist of this city defines as a local flavor."

And this tantalizing possibility:

From the Nashville Daily American (Aug. 10): "[Poe] will surely pay his respects to the scalp of the Indiana man who brought it out."

On August 25, the Kokomo Tribune, rival paper to the Dispatch, printed an exposé. James Whitcomb Riley was implicated as the author and the editor of the Dispatch as his co-conspirator. Both suffered damage to their reputations. Riley lost his job. But he didn't stay down for long, and by the end of his life, all had been forgiven, as he was loved and cherished as the "Hoosier Poet" and the "Children's Poet." Even his poem was redeemed in the collection Armazindy, published on this date in 1894. In any case, Happy Birthday to the Hoosier Poet!

James Flora's illustration for "Nine Little Goblins" by James Whitcomb Riley, a poem reprinted in the book A Red Skelton in Your Closet (1965).

I would like to acknowledge the website James Whitcomb Riley, at this URL:

for information used to write this article.

Original text copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

Weird Tales Books

The Adventures of Jules de Grandin by Seabury Quinn (1976)

Seabury Quinn (1889-1969) wrote more stories than anyone for Weird Tales and for a longer period of time, from 1923 to 1952, almost the entire run of the magazine. If my count is right, Quinn placed 146 stories in "The Unique Magazine" in those years. Ninety-three of them were in the continuing adventures of his occult detective, Jules de Grandin. Of those 146, seven were reprinted in The Adventures of Jules de Grandin in 1976. They include the first of the de Grandin stories, "The Horror on the Links," retitled for the book "Terror on the Links."

A dealer at PulpFest recommended the Jules de Grandin stories to me. I have just one of the five Popular Library reprint books of the 1970s. These books are hard to come by at a decent price. I was lucky enough to find one at Half Price Books, one of the world's greatest stores, for just two dollars. I finally finished it this weekend.

Here's what I think: Seabury Quinn set up his series seemingly with the Sherlock Holmes series in mind. Jules de Grandin is French rather than British. Nonetheless, he is, like his predecessor, eccentric and seemingly all-knowing. Eccentric is probably a kind word. I find him to be annoying as all get-out. His assistant, Dr. Trowbridge, plays the Dr. Watson role as recorder and narrator of de Grandin's adventures. Unlike Watson, Dr. Trowbridge is grouchy, obtuse, and practically useless. You can lay the blame at the author's feet.

Despite all that, Quinn was, over all, a good writer. Certain of his scenes are unforgettable, as in "The Man Who Cast No Shadow" when de Grandin destroys a vampire in her grave and discovers another in his underground lair. In short, I will keep looking for the Jules de Grandin books, but not at the prevailing price. One thing dealers should realize is that their clientele is probably beginning to disappear. The generations that first read pulp magazines and even paperback books are passing from the earth. I doubt that the prices they once paid will hold for very much longer.

The Adventures of Jules de Grandin by Seabury Quinn
Edited by Robert Weinberg
(Popular Library, 1976)
Cover art by Vincent di Fate; illustrations by Steve Fabian, including a map of Harrisonville, New Jersey, and portrait drawings of Jules de Grandin and Dr. Trowbridge based on drawings by Virgil Finlay
"A Sherlock of the Supernatural" by Lin Carter
"By Way of Explanation" by Seabury Quinn (originally in The Phantom-Fighter [?] by Seabury Quinn, Mycroft & Moran, 1966)
"Terror on the Links" (originally "The Horror on the Links," Weird Tales, Oct. 1925; reprinted May 1937)
"The Tenants of Broussac" (Weird Tales, Dec. 1925)
"The Isle of Missing Ships" (Weird Tales, Feb. 1926)
"The Dead Hand" (Weird Tales, May 1926)
"The Man Who Cast No Shadow" (Weird Tales, Feb. 1927)
"The Blood Flower" (originally "The Blood-Flower," Weird Tales, Mar. 1927)
"The Curse of Everard Maundy" (Weird Tales, July 1927)
"Afterword" by Robert Weinberg

Original text copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Conservative vs. the Zombie

A year ago this weekend, I ended my seemingly interminable series "What is the monster of the twenty-first century?" with the conclusion that zombies, representing mass man and his desire to dehumanize, consume, and ultimately eradicate the individual human being, are the monsters of our time. Today (Oct. 3, 2015) I read an opinion piece more or less along those lines. (Like I've said before, it's nice when your theorizing is confirmed by others.) The piece is called "In the Zombie World, Only the Conservative Survive." It's by David French, an attorney and staff writer at the National Review. You can find it by clicking here.

Mr. French's essay opens with these words:
          The Obama era is the era of the zombie. It is a strange irony that the politician of "hope and change" has presided over a pop-culture world dominated by shuffling, moaning, undead cannibals who mindlessly rule a post-government apocalyptic landscape.
I might argue that it's no irony at all, being that our current president is the leader and apotheosis of mass man. In any case, the angle of the essay is skepticism towards government and faith in the individual, especially in the the well-armed individual living out what can only be called conservative principles. Mr. French writes: "In zombieland, there are three kinds of people: those who know how to use guns, those who learn how to use guns, and zombies." It's strange that he would include zombies in the category of people, but if zombies don't represent monsters or disease or some alien force so much as they represent mass man or simply the fallen state of man, then they should probably be included in that category.

In my essay of last year, I wondered whether the zombie-like people among us see themselves as such, just like I wondered in the 1980s whether the creeps among us saw themselves as the creeps in the high school movies of the time. The answer then was probably the same as the answer now: No, probably not. Another quote to that point from "In the Zombie World, Only the Conservative Survive":
Yet despite these [conservative-minded] premises, the Left loves this show [The Walking Dead or TWD]. Read Huffington Post or Salon or virtually any other lefty site that follows pop culture, and they’re dissecting TWD, breaking down and analyzing episodes with loving care. 
So the answer appears to be no, period. That leads to the conclusion I have made, and that Mr. French seems to make as well, that ultimately all people are conservative in that conservatism is simply a fact of life. It's the way people live when they are free.

That got me thinking about another point I left out of my series from last year (as if I left anything out). The heroes of our literature and popular culture embody conservative values: courage, strength, self-reliance, self-actuation, individual character, love of freedom, pursuit of justice, and so on. Odysseus doesn't try to understand his enemies. He kills them. The men, elves, dwarves, and hobbits of Middle Earth don't take an invasion of their world by masses simply by lying down, nor do they wish to surrender their rights or freedoms to a prevailing force. They resist. Daryl on The Walking Dead doesn't believe in a democracy in which the dehumanizing and all-consuming mass man has his way. Instead he pierces their brains with bolts from his crossbow. The leftist hero on the other hand--Che Guevara, Mao, Lenin--is a thug, a criminal, a mass murderer, in short a mass man who wishes to strip his fellow human beings of their rights, freedoms, property, and lives, more importantly, of their individual identity, dignity, and humanity. Again, we are Winston and Julia, the leftist hero is O'Brien. Like O'Brien--and like Number 2 in The Prisoner--he wants not so much to kill us as to make us one of him, to get us to conform. He wants us no longer to be individuals. So can the Leftist identify in any way with Winston or Number 6? I would say no, for the Leftist doesn't value freedom or individuality. If that's so, then how can the Leftist identify with the human beings in The Walking Dead against the zombies, whose sole desire is to render the individual one of the mindless masses? Again, I would argue that he can't. If you call yourself a leftist--or in the parlance of our times, a liberal--and you identify with human beings over zombies, you are a traitor to your beliefs--and loyal to the inescapable fact of your humanity.

Original text copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Update on Tellers of Weird Tales

I have four series going at once:
  1. My categorizing of Weird Tales covers, which began on January 2, 2014, with "The Eternal Triangle: Man, Woman, and Monster."
  2. The A. Merritt Art Gallery, which began on May 16, 2015, with "A. Merritt Art Gallery-Through the Dragon Glass."
  3. A series on Utopia vs. Dystopia, Classicism vs. Romanticism, Reason vs. Gothicism, and science fiction vs. fantasy, which began on June 15, 2015, with "The Iron Heel and 1984-Part One," and which I plan to conclude with a discussion of William Gibson and Neuromancer.
  4. Notes from PulpFest, an event now nearly two months gone. This series began on August 16, 2015, with "Notes from PulpFest-The Mystery of the Missing Magazine." Still to come: Leo Margulies, Theodore Roscoe, and the highlight of PulpFest for me, Jon Arfstrom.
I'll probably finish those series in reverse order. But first, an interlude or two (or three).

Weird Tales, September 1953, a British edition with a cover by Jon Arfstrom.

Text copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

Friday, September 25, 2015

Jacob Clark Henneberger on Campus

I received a request from a reader in France for a photograph of Jacob Clark Henneberger (1890-1969), co-founder and publisher of Weird Tales magazine. Here is his senior picture from the yearbook of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from 1913. Henneberger was then twenty-three years old. A decade later he published the first issue of Weird Tales, the magazine that--like the past--never dies.

The day before yesterday I had the three hundred thousandth visit to my blog. I figure about half of those are Russian hackers and Chinese spammers, but I want to say thank you to everyone else for reading.

Text and captions copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Undead Past

"The past is never dead. It's not even past."
--from Requiem for a Nun by William Faulkner (1951)

My grandfather, a son of illiterate Irish immigrants, was born in 1891. His older brother Willie drowned in the canal just west of downtown Indianapolis when he was four, leaving my grandfather as the oldest of the brood. He grew up to marry a dark Irish beauty and went to work as a government meat inspector. The two sent their four oldest sons to war. Four more served in the 1950s. Their only daughter, my aunt, died less than a month ago. She was buried in a cemetery plot purchased by her father in 1945. Even now, fifty-six years after his death, he has continued to provide for his family.

I don't know how it happened exactly, but my Irish grandfather--tall, able, hardworking, a natural aristocrat--and his wife--dark, devout, and I imagine long-suffering--carried through them something of the undead past. Forces from long ago lived in their generation and in their children's generation and still yet in their children's children's generation. Now we are like Quentin Compson and his Harvard roommate in another Faulkner novel attempting to solve the mystery of what went on all those years ago that things should be as they are today. The Irish have a sense of fatedness that very often elides into a sense of doom. It would be easy to fall into that and believe that forces from the past are irresistible. To believe in an irresistible fate or doom might be a mistake. But it might also be a mistake to believe that we can escape from or are unaffected by a past that is never dead.

Lamont Buchanan's father, Charles Lamont Buchanan, Sr., was born in 1884 in New York City. His parents were divorced and his mother died when he was a child. There was tussling over guardianship and inheritance which was finally settled by the end of the century. Buchanan eventually became a successful writer and critic. In 1948, he secured an apartment in his native city, an apartment that is--or was until recently--a home for his son, Lamont Buchanan, and his son's wife, Jean Milligan. In 1949, perhaps in some security, Lamont Buchanan left the employ of Weird Tales magazine. For the next seven years, he made a go at being an author of books. Then, with his last book in 1956, he seems to have fallen silent. Like his onetime or then-current friend J.D. Salinger, he retreated into seclusion. Unlike with Salinger, no one seems to have sought him out. No one now wonders about unpublished manuscripts among his papers.

Charles Lamont Buchanan, Sr., died in 1962. That was more than half a century ago. The scandal in his family, if you can call it that, occurred in the last decade of the nineteenth century. The weird story of his ancestor's suicide is from near the beginning of that century, now two hundred years past. All of those events--and countless more--are past and yet seemingly not past. They have shaped the people who came after them, and by that, shaped the history of weird fiction in America. Likewise, whatever trauma or pathology or quirk of personality that made J.D. Salinger the writer and subsequently the recluse that he was also resides in the province of the past. Yet people still read his books, which came out of his personal or familial past. Moreover, Salinger's two children survive. Lamont Buchanan and Jean Milligan may or may not have had a daughter. If there is such a person, then the undead past must live on in her as well, just as it does in all of us.

I don't want to invade the privacy of Lamont Buchanan and his family. That's the reason why I hesitate to tell the whole story as I know it. You might think it silly to consider events from half a century or a century ago to be private, but those things are not dead, and just as I wouldn't want someone unknown to me probing into my family, I won't probe into someone else's. And yet I have. What I have already written may have gone too far. I guess one difference might be that Lamont Buchanan made of himself a person of public interest. Our probing might be excusable. But that's a pretty weak excuse.

I'll close by saying that no, I don't believe J.D. Salinger was Allison V. Harding. That's a ridiculous idea, despite the uncanny similarities between their respective scenes at the carousel. I believe Lamont Buchanan was Allison V. Harding. But I also believe that any connections between the two men ought to be explored to the fullest extent. Scholars of literature are always looking for some new line of research in a world in which all possibilities have been exhausted. Here is something new and unexhausted. Someone should go to it.

Copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

Saturday, September 19, 2015

J.D. Salinger and Lamont Buchanan

J.D. Salinger was one of the most famous recluses of the twentieth century. Born on January 1, 1919, in New York City, Salinger attended public schools in Manhattan, then the McBurney School, also in Manhattan, and Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Valley Forge in 1936 and attended New York University in 1936-1937, Ursinus College in the fall semester of 1938, and Columbia University beginning in 1939.

Salinger's career as a published author began in March-April 1940 with "The Young Folks," a vignette in Story magazine. The editor of Story was Whit Burnett (1900-1972), who became a mentor to and correspondent of the young writer. Salinger went on, of course, to write The Catcher in the Rye (1951), Nine Stories (1953), Franny and Zooey (1961), and finally Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963). By the early 1960s, he had begun living like a recluse, claiming, "It is my rather subversive opinion that a writer's feelings of anonymity-obscurity are the second most valuable property on loan to him during his working years." (Quoted in Time, Aug. 4, 1961.) His last published story was "Hapworth 16, 1924" in The New Yorker, June 19, 1965. After that, Salinger retreated into Greta Garbo-like seclusion and died in his New Hampshire home on January 27, 2010, at age ninety-one. Curiously, he was involved, though briefly, in Dianetics.

Charles Lamont Buchanan was younger than J.D. Salinger by two months and six days. Born on March 7, 1919, in New York City, Buchanan eventually dropped the "Charles" and became simply Lamont Buchanan, probably to set himself apart from his father. In the late 1930s he was living in New Canaan, Connecticut. He may have graduated from New Canaan High School at about the same time as his future wife, Jean Milligan, but I haven't found any evidence of that. The high school itself doesn't have yearbooks or records from that long ago. I also haven't found anything showing that Lamont Buchanan attended college, but somehow or other he landed a job as associate editor at Weird Tales in September 1942. He was then twenty-three years old. 

Lamont Buchanan remained with Weird Tales until September 1949. He published a number of books on history, sports, politics, and transportation between 1947 and 1956. From that year forward, though, he seems to have become a recluse. If he is still living, Mr. Buchanan is likely at home in his apartment in New York City. His wife, Jean Milligan, died on December 6, 2004, in New York City. The Buchanans may have a daughter, but like everything else in their lives, the facts are lost in secrecy and obscurity.

I didn't find anything to show that Lamont Buchanan attended college until I did find something to show that he attended college. Today (Sept. 16, 2015), I found out that he attended Columbia University. And that he knew J.D. Salinger. And that he is supposed by at least one person to have been a model for Holden Caulfield. And I find all of that to be incredible, not as in unbelievable but as in incredible that only now is this showing up anywhere in the universe. One of the most well-known and intensely studied American authors of the twentieth century, and only now are we hearing about all of this. (Well, in 2012 anyway.) I wonder if it's even true or if it's all just a hoax.

The information comes from an article called "Top Tips for Writers from J.D. Salinger--Advice from Beyond the Grave" by Noel Young, dated January 26, 2012, and posted on the website The Drum. The article tells of how Shirley Ardman, an eighteen-year-old journalism student at Columbia University, who may have been going by the name Louise Brown or Louise Baker at the time, landed an interview with Salinger in 1940. Salinger had only recently entered the fraternity of published authors with his story "The Young Folks." Shirley's assignment was to interview someone from that fraternity. One of her classmates knew Salinger and provided an introduction. The classmate was named Lamont Buchanan.

Shirley met Salinger in a hotel bar where he drank Ballantine's and she had a cocktail. They talked about writing, magazines, and fiction in general. From their talk, Shirley Ardman composed an 1,200-word piece that went unpublished until 2012 and the aforementioned article in The Drum. The piece, called "A Case of Youth," begins as follows:
"People are stupid," Mr. Salinger observed, glancing vacantly at the other occupants of the bar. "Certainly they’re stupid," he repeated, "or they wouldn’t read all the tripe that’s ground out for the pulp and slick magazines. Why, the hacks that write those stories are no better than the people who read them."
There are some things to take away from that paragraph. First is the sophomoric arrogance. Second is the implication that Salinger read pulp magazines. Third is that he doesn't seem to have made much of a distinction between things written for pulps vs. for slicks. Fourth is that the author sounded a little like his future youthful protagonist, Holden Caulfield. And fifth is that he also sounded a little like Lamont Buchanan, who wrote, as Allison V. Harding, the following:
Abernathy wondered if those around him were as miserable as he was, or if their misery was an unrecognized, locked-up something deep inside. For this underground tomb [a subway station] was a place for reflection, although conversely, in its bustle and noisome urgency, humans could take holiday from their consciences, and pushing, wriggling, hurrying off and on these mechanized moles that bore them to and from their tasks, forget, and in the forgetting be complacent. (From "Take the Z-Train" in 100 Wild Little Weird Tales [1994], p. 488)
That's not arrogance exactly, but it also doesn't display a very high opinion of humanity. One difference is that Salinger seems to have placed himself above humanity, while Buchanan's protagonist recognized himself as one among them.

The article by Noel Young tells about Shirley Ardman's meeting with J.D. Salinger and a little about herself. Fans of Weird Tales will be especially interested to read the following words:
A classmate of Shirley's, Lamont Buchanan, who knew Salinger, offered to introduce them, and so the meeting was arranged.
Later, Shirley was to suggest that Lamont was at least in part the model for Holden Caulfield, the central figure in The Catcher in the Rye.
and these:
Shirley, who now suffers from Alzheimer’s, remembered little of the actual interview but she scorned our use of the name "J.D. Salinger." "We called him Jerry," she insisted.
She seemed to remember Lamont Buchanan much better, correcting my [Mr. Young's] Scottish way of pronouncing his first name.
If Lamont Buchanan was the model for Holden Caulfield, this is the first I have heard of it. It may be the first that anybody has heard of it. That's one of the things I find so incredible.

Shirley Baker Ardman died on March 12, 2014, presumably in Swampscott, Massachusetts, at age ninety-two. Born in Weston, West Virginia, she was returned to her native state for burial. Whatever she may have remembered about Lamont Buchanan is now forgotten in her passing. That leaves us to make whatever we can of her account.

So was the Lamont Buchanan she knew the same Lamont Buchanan who worked for Weird Tales? There is good reason to believe that he was, for he was of the right age, in the right place, and engaged in the right field of endeavor. If Mr. Buchanan attended Columbia University until graduating at about age twenty-two (a supposition), and if he was himself connected or connected through friends to the world of magazine publishing in New York, then there can be little wonder how he arrived at Weird Tales in 1942. A biography of Harry Aveline Perkins (1919-?), Lamont Buchanan's predecessor, might be illuminating at this point. Did the two young men know each other before 1942? Did Perkins also attend Columbia? And did Perkins know J.D. Salinger or Shirley Ardman?

The questions continue: Did Lamont Buchanan really know J.D. Salinger? Were they friends? If so, for how long? When I first wrote about Allison V. Harding, I noted a similarity in her writing to that of John Collier (1901-1980), who wrote for the slick magazines of the 1940s, just as Salinger did. (Both contributed to The New Yorker and Esquire.) I wonder now if Lamont Buchanan, if he was Allison V. Harding, had aspirations to writing for the slicks, or at the very least, if he emulated the writing style he saw there. Was he trying to be like John Collier or J.D. Salinger or even Ray Bradbury, who wrote for Weird Tales and other pulps before moving on to slick magazines? But now I'll take the wondering a little further into the realm of the unbelievable if not the impossible: I have supposed that Allison V. Harding was a man based on her stories. Once I made that supposition, the easiest conclusion was that Allison V. Harding was Lamont Buchanan. But what if Allison V. Harding was J.D. Salinger slumming among the pulps with the help of his friend Lamont Buchanan?

     "And at the end, the best of all--the merry-go-round, on the horses that went up and down, up and down, round and round, with the strange, strange wonderful music of the calliope--he would travel miles on his green and yellow horse even as Mother stood outside the world of his racetrack and gestured and seemed to stamp her foot, wanting him to stop and making motioning noises.
* * *
     "It was then--sometime during his umpteenth ride on the bucking green and yellow merry-go-round horse--then so that his seven-year-old mind knew well the whistling sounds of the calliope organ, then that something had come out of another world, it seemed--a thing of crashing noise and blinding light; a thing prefaced only by a little wetness and Mother's anger as she stood, no longer controlling him, already completely outside of his world, under a hastily raised umbrella, stamping her foot and calling to him.
     "Henry was caught up then in that instant by his friend, who took him in this time of greatest joy bursting like the nod of a flower. . . ."
--From "Take the Z-Train" by Allison V. Harding
Weird Tales (Mar. 1950)

     "Then the carrousel started, and I watched her go around and around. There were only about five or six other kids on the ride, and the song the carrousel was playing was 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.' It was playing it very jazzy and funny. All the kids kept trying to grab for the gold ring, and so was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid she'd fall off the goddam horse, but I didn't say anything or do anything. The thing with kids is, if they want to grab the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them.
* * *
     "Boy, it began to rain like a bastard. In buckets, I swear to God. All the parents and mothers and everybody went over and stood right under the roof of the carrousel, so they wouldn't get soaked to the skin or anything, but I stuck around on the bench for quite a while. I got pretty soaking wet, especially my neck and my pants. My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection, in a way; but I got soaked anyway. I didn't care, though. I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going around and around. I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth. I don't know why. It was just that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around and around, in her blue coat and all. God, I wish you could've been there."
--From The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley