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Evening Read-ness in the West

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An interview with author Cormac McCarthy

TESQUE, New Mexico - Cormac McCarthy is one of the most notable living writers in American literature. He has won Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships. He has a National Book Award, a National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

Novels like “Blood Meridian,” “All the Pretty Horses,” “The Road” and “No Country for Old Men” have become key components of the literary canon. His impact on the realm of American letters cannot be overstated.

He is also a noted recluse, minimizing interviews and generally avoiding the media spotlight.

So of course, The Maine Edge was on the case.

As part of our occasional efforts to track down and speak to authors who – for whatever reason – aren’t interested in being spoken to, I decided to make my way to the Southwest in an effort to land an interview with the press-shy McCarthy.

And I found him. Or rather … he found me. As I lurked outside a house that I was reasonably sure belonged to McCarthy, the writer appeared behind me as if from nowhere astride what I’m stunned to report was a buffalo.

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

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The Maine Edge – HOLY S—T!

Cormac McCarthy – I’m sorry, can I help you?

TME – You scared the crap out of me. Where did you even come from?

CM – Well, when you learn the ways of this territory you can fade in and out of the desert and make your way however and wherever you see fit.

TME – I don’t know what that means. Also – is that a buffalo? Are you riding a buffalo?

CM – “Riding” seems like an unnecessary descriptor, but yes this is a buffalo.

(Pause)

CM (cont.) – So are you gonna tell me why you were trying to peek in my bedroom windows?

TME – Oh! Oh no! No, I wasn’t … I’m not trying to spy … I was just looking for you and wanted to talk about your work. I don’t want to watch you sleep or anything.

CM – Good thing. I don’t sleep anymore. Mostly spend my nights wandering the shifting sands on a quest for meaning.

TME – That seems … weird. Anyway, since I’ve got you here, mind if I ask you a few questions about your writing?

CM – Sure – if you can give me a reason not to shoot you for trespassing and trying to look at my nude body in repose.

TME – Uh…

CM – Ah, I’m just yankin’ your crank. Sure, we can talk about the writing. You want a beer?

TME – Um … yeah. Sure. Why not?

(Pause for beers)

CM – All right, pal. Ask away.

TME – Right. OK. So – it has been over a decade since your last novel [“The Road”; 2006]. You’ve never had a gap quite this long between books; do you have anything in the works currently?

CM – Well, it’s not like I haven’t been busy. I wrote a screenplay. It was a movie called “The Counselor.” Did you see it?

TME – Um. Yes.

CM – What’d you think?

TME – Honestly? Well … it was actually not that great. Weird, but not in a fun way. In an off-putting way.

(McCarthy laughs)

CM – Oh yeah. Yeah it was. That thing with Cameron Diaz sexing up the car? Jesus – what was that about, you know?

Anyway, your question. Books. Yeah, I’m working on a couple of different things right now. I find that I’ve passed the point in my life where I can devote myself solely to one project. I need to have a few irons in the fire so that when I get bogged down I can jump to something else and stay productive. Different stuff. I reckon I’ll publish something soon.

TME – Any new genre exploration here? You’ve done Southern gothic, western, post-apocalyptic…what’s next?

CM – Could be anything. Maybe a legal thriller, one of those airplane books. Or horror – Steve King seems like he has a lot of fun. Or something with elves or whatever. Maybe I’ll write one of those “literary” books about a guy living in Brooklyn who wants to be a writer and spends 500 pages smelling his own farts.

(Loud rustling noise from outside)

CM – Oops – gotta go. I’m meeting with the rest of the herd at the water hole and then we’re going grazing.

TME – Oh. OK. Well – thank you for your time.

-

Many thanks to Mr. McCarthy for taking the time to talk despite the fact that I’m fairly sure that he now believes himself to be a buffalo. Still, some marvelous insight from one of our most brilliant writers. 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.

(Editor’s note: This interview is a complete and utter fabrication. Happy April Fools’ Day!)

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