I heard a fantastic StoryCorps interview this morning on NPR. They featured a Wisconsin man, Jim Krawczyk, who went to New Hampshire in the late 1960s to try to meet the famously reclusive J.D. Salinger.
StoryCorps never ceases to amaze me. Here's a guy, a fan, who goes on a road trip halfway across the country to meet his favorite author. An author who, as everyone knows, does not like to talk with anyone, fans included. And Krawczyk actually goes up to Salinger's house, knocks on the door, and ends up talking with him.
On one hand, it's a story of a successful quest, and you feel happy for Krawczyk, who sounds like a swell guy. But like the best StoryCorps segments, it's also a sad story, this time about the wall the separates celebrities from the rest of us.
Salinger tells Krawczyk that the success of A Catcher in the Rye has been a nightmare for him. And it sounds like Krawczyk doesn't quite get that. You can almost hear Krawczyk thinking, Why would anyone compare this success to a nightmare?
But of course, poor introverted old Salinger just wants to be left alone, and here's this guy on his doorstep who's traveled thousands of miles to see him. And no doubt Krawczyk is not the only one who ever stopped by. Sounds like a nightmare to me.