‘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.’ – Holden Caulfield, Catcher in the Rye.
I do not like this quote because it is the end of what many people feel is a tiresome novel. I like it because Catcher is one of my favourite books. I’ve read it three times – aged 15, 19 and 22. This line, aged 22 made me cry, in a classroom full of 13 year old students no less. At the time, I couldn’t tell them why because I had no idea why. Almost two years on, I think I finally understand.
This is the first and last time Holden truly addresses his reader. He draws us in before this but it’s the ‘God, I wish you could have been there.’ which is touching. I know how that feels, to see something so simple and feel ready to burst with joy, an emotion which had long since left me and seemed determined to evade every previous attempt I made to claw it back. And yet, one evening as I sat on a train I looked to my left and saw a wheat field bathed in sunlight. Golden, rich yellow sunshine you can only dream of. The wheat didn’t look idyllic, it looked expensive and the sky was so blue I couldn’t help but smile.
I’d been diagnosed with depression since September the previous year and it was April. I wish someone could have been there to see me smile, like it was magic trick I had finally perfected. Like Holden, all of a sudden I felt happy, I didn’t know why and I didn’t fancy waxing lyrical about wheat, just to end up feeling even more mad. So, I kept the golden wheat field to myself, locked it away in my mind for rainy days.
We often put happiness beneath a microscope or a magnifying glass, letting the sun slowly scorch it until it talks. We often see happiness as something bigger than ourselves. We forget happiness can be a giddy ride on a carousel, a blue coat or a landscape living beyond a glass window.
The rules for 3 days, 3 quotes:
1. Thank the person who nominated you. – Thank you Brandewulf, it was interesting to delve into myself and choose three quotes/pieces of writing which have inspired me or moved me.
2. Share a post each day for three consecutive days (3 quotes total)
3. Explain why you like the quote
4. Nominate three bloggers to play along (I chose to do two a day).
Whether the wonderful people below play along or not, check them out:
1. House of Heart because she writes beautifully and I would love to know more about her.
2. Andrew Green because his poems span multiple topics so I have no doubt he may have a few enlightening quotes and stories to tell in his back-pocket.