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Pynchon me, I must be dreaming

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An interview with the reclusive Thomas Pynchon

'Every weirdo in the world is on my wavelength.' - Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon is one of the most celebrated writers of his (or any other) generation. The brilliance of such diverse works as 'Gravity's Rainbow,' 'The Crying of Lot 49,' 'Mason and Dixon' and 'Bleeding Edge' among so many others has led to critical acclaim and literary immortality.

Mr. Pynchon is also one of the most notoriously reclusive authors we've got. Ever since the 1960s, Pynchon has eschewed the public eye; he has rarely even been photographed and rumors abound regarding his current appearance and whereabouts.

Obviously, it was time for The Maine Edge to enter the game.

Through a series of shakedowns, bribes and other ethically questionable activities, I tracked Pynchon to an isolated compound just outside of a small town in upstate New York. Unfortunately, we're unable to be any more specific regarding the location due to certain blood oaths that were sworn.

The following is a transcript of our encounter in its entirety.


Thomas Pynchon Who the hell are you?

The Maine Edge My name is Allen Adams. I'm a writer with

TP Did you walk on the grass?



TME Uh, uh yes. I did. Is that bad?

TP Why would you walk on the grass? Didn't you see the sign?

(He points to a sign that says 'Please Don't Keep Walking Off The Grass')

TME I I don't know what that means I just I was hoping to talk to you about your work.

TP My work? What work? The books? You broke in here to talk about the books?


TP Sure. What the hell. Let's talk about the books. You can't come into my house, though. I'll answer three of your questions and then I shall have you removed.

TME Oh OK that's a deal. Ahem. OK so first question: for many years, your production was sporadic, with lengthy stretches between publications. But in the past 10 years, you've had three books 'Against the Day,' 'Inherent Vice' and 'Bleeding Edge' come to print. What prompted you to become so prolific?

TP I'm a writer. I write books. When the books need writing, I write them. Sometimes, they don't need to be written for a long stretch. When they need it, that's when I write them. Not before.

TME Sure. I guess. OK question two: last year, we saw the first film adaptation of one of your works. How involved were you in the process of making 'Inherent Vice'?

TP You know, it was kind of a hoot. Paul [Paul Thomas Anderson, the film's director] is a nice kid, maybe a little touched, if you know what I'm saying, but a nice kid. Not quite the writer he thinks himself to be, but not bad. And I actually go way back with Joaquim he and I used to party quite a bit back in the day. That dude, man (laughs) that dude is something else.

I've never been one to consider the cinematic possibilities of what I do. The images of the mind are so much more effective than anything that can be rendered visible to the eye. And considering the metatextual nature of most of my narratives, the idea of reducing any of them down into a coherent two-hour film always seemed like more trouble than it would be worth. Still, Paul and Joaquim and the rest they did a good job.

You know, I'm in it. Only time I've allowed myself to be filmed in decades. Not going to tell you where though. I AM a recluse, after all.

(Editor's note: it was as this point that the aforementioned blood oath was administered. However, due to technical difficulties, the recording was cut off.)

TME OK, sorry about that looks like we're up and running again

TP Well, go ahead and ask your question. There's a 'Simpsons' mini-marathon coming on in 20 minutes and I still have to make the popcorn.

TME All right last question. Do you feel like your intentional separation from societal interaction has affected the perception of your work? And if so, positively or negatively?

TP Pretty sure you stuck an extra question in there, chief, but I'll concede that it's a follow-up and let it slide.

I removed myself because it just seemed like an easier way to get st done. That's all. I didn't want to deal with any of the day-to-day crap that comes with being an 'important' author. So I stepped away and never really looked back.

I don't NEED that interaction. I don't care about adulation. It's nice that people buy my books because it means that I don't have to do anything else, but ultimately, I'd write them anyway. There are too many ideas whizzing around my head already do I really need to be out there in the world getting more interpersonal interactions jammed into my skull and converted to narrative fodder?

And don't get me started on this social media business. If I hadn't already disappeared, I would have ghosted once this whole Facebook thing gained traction. The whole thing reeks of the dilution of individual identity people are spread so thin that they've become transparent. And while some would argue that transparency is a positive development, those people are mad. We should be keeping at least part of ourselves for ourselves.

Do people get off on my absence? I'm sure. But I don't think it has made a bit of difference in terms of the spread of my work. People have embraced me for whatever reason; I'm just glad that there are still some thinkers out there in the world.


TP Now get the hell off my lawn.


Many thanks to Mr. Pynchon for taking the time to talk with us here at The Maine Edge. We very much appreciate his very real answers to our completely real questions in this not-at-all made-up encounter that totally happened and is not a complete and utter fabrication.

(Real editor's note: this interview is a complete and utter fabrication.)

Last modified on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 18:02

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