IN HONOR of Banned Book Week (September 26 – October 3), I wanted to post one of the books on the list that was significant to me. Sadly, there are several, but this one arrived (as it did for so many young people) at a significant time in my life. I was in an English class that was more like bedlam. The teacher had no control of the room or of his own destiny so it seemed. He passed this book out and gave us a week to read it. I pounced on it. The voice, the descriptions, the pathos. Holden’s use of “crumby” and “phony” all these years later still pings in my head as if I *heard* him speak those words. At any rate, I read the book in an evening. The next day in class we were to discuss the first couple of chapters. Someone, one of the surfers or the stoners or ??? made some lewd comment and the teacher puffed up into a hissy-fit and began collecting the books. “You all are too immature for this book!” Back into the cardboard box they went, and we were back to the moldy-smelling reader. Now I think, how terrible it was that he allowed one or two to ruin that experience for 25 others. I know he was at his wits’ end. I understand it even more now. But this book opened a door to something for me not just as a reader, but I know, as a writer. It arrived at the same time as a few other important titles did — F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby and of course, even more so, The Crack Up. I would spend a great deal of the rest of the semester sitting on the broken-down sofa reading my assignments but also Cream and Rolling Stone magazines — not just for the music features, but the other journalism — long-form narratives, essays and the like –the latter in particular. I was learning about how stories were put together — in so many different ways. Holden Caulfield’s voice was a “source” — in the many meanings of the word. Once I’d held the vibrancy in my hands, there was no capping it.