Anyone who has ever read J. D. Salinger’s work knows that the author behind the words was somebody you would like to know, but he would never be somebody you would want to associate with his writing. Why? Because the author’s “message” in his fiction was this: “Were all your stars out when you wrote this?” That was the writing advice that Seymour Glass gave to his little brother, Buddy, the budding author. It means that writing is a cosmic act, and that the reader’s authentic relationship with the author is only meant to be shared on the written page and not in “real life.”
I realized this fact when I finally understood the nature of true creativity and the role of the artist. Like the artist filmmaker, Akira Kirosawa who said, “The artist must never avert his eyes,” we must show our inner vision of the world as we see it, warts and all, so to speak, and this is where it gets dicey with the “critical public.” The public always wants to expose the author and connect him with his art. As Salinger wanted to prove by his isolation: The artist is separate from his art!