Archive for October 2020

Forthcoming…Conversations with Thomas Pynchon.   Leave a comment

The Thomas Trail: every contact leaves traces

Conversations with Thomas Pynchon.

Malta University Press (tba)

Readers have been asking, “What does Tom have to say about today’s events?” Well…, in 1962 Tom said, “… If that bastard is elected president (or even nominated) I’m leaving the country and staying away. The GOP screwed up once, in ’52, as you know, by nominating that drooling imbecile what’s-his-name instead of a legitimate conservative like Taft. They are now reaping the result, namely an irresponsible and possibly lunatic right wing. Nominating Romney is only going to compound the felony: Romney is nothing but an organization man, a technician without principles. … In a sense every vote for Romney at the ’64 convention will be a vote for the destruction of the GOP as we have known it. (1962 letter to Bob Hillock)

Now don’t get pissed off.  But I can’t come to the conference.  Nor will I even be covering the convention, much as I would like to see old Barry get put down. …  Not that I don’t like your country, I do; some of my best friends are Americans.  But I can’t seem to get anything done while I’m inside the continental limits.  ….There is also the matter of Kennedy’s assasination, which hit me harder than I will probably ever tell anybody, or even admit to myself, not because of how I felt about him, which as you know was favorable, but because I thought we were through with that kind of crap….  The logic being that political murders should not be part of a civilized democracy, and if they are then something is wrong with the country, and by extension something is wrong with me, and you too.  …, what is wrong with the commonwealth also has to be wrong to some extent with us,…. I feel useless at talking about politics,… (1964 letter to Bob Hillock)

Tell me about this “Declaration of Independence II,” and this “new Constitution,” cz I’m way out of touch. The declaration part sounds OK, but who wants another constitution? Piece of f***ing paper got nothing to do with the people out here, out in the country, here….what’s wrong with building it from real and local to (or, towards) abstract and national (not even that far, if possible) instead of just the same ass-backwards way again? Eh? (1974 letter to David & Mary)

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Asking Tom, “What do you think of the riots and police in America? Has America changed?” He might recall May 1966 :

The night of May 7, after a chase that began in Watts and ended 50 blocks farther north, two Los Angeles Policemen, Caucasians, succeeded in halting a car driven by Leonard Deadwyler, a Negro.  With him were his pregnant wife and a friend.  The younger cop (who’d once had a complaint brought against him for rousting some Negro kids around in a more than usually abusive way) went over and stuck his head and gun in the car window to talk to Deadwyler.  A moment later there was a shot; the young Negro fell sideways in the seat, and died.  The last thing he said, according to the other cop, was, “She’s going to have a baby.”


…The verdict, to no one’s surprise, cleared the cop of all criminal responsibility.  It had been an accident. …  As far as [the D.A.] was concerned the case was closed. … But as far as Watts is concerned, it’s still very much open.  (A Journey Into the Mind of Watts, June 12, 1966)

Posted October 11, 2020 by Nadar in Pynchon

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