Saturday, July 19, 2014

An Open Letter to Thomas Pynchon

A version of this letter originally appeared a while back.

Dear Thom,

I just finished reading (the first three pages of) Gravity’s Rainbow, and I have to say, I think you were grossly misinformed about the outcome of World War II.  I believe the allies, not the Germans, won.  I am now turning on the History Channel to confirm this fact.  I’m watching... I’m watching... Yes, the allies definitely won.  Also, Nostradamus predicted they would win several hundred years ago.  Also, Hitler may have descended from an ancient race of space aliens and Barack Obama is descended from Satan.  Now that's good history!

Wait a second.  Hold the phone.  I just looked up GR on Wikipedia, and it turns out you do know who won WWII.   Sorry about that.  I guess I didn’t know what the hell was going on in that book.  I did understand Slow Learner however.  And while I agree with your assessment of your early stories in the introduction of that book--that they weren’t very good--you can’t know how much it meant to me to know that an author of your caliber, whose books I don’t understand or care to read, could have written stories just as crappy as mine.  Well, let’s just say it gave me hope.  Maybe I’ll be the next Thomas Pynchon when I grow up.  (I’m only 43, so there is still plenty of time.)

Say, that gives me an idea.  I know how secretive you are--people used to think you and JD Salinger were the same person because you were so reclusive, even though Salinger wrote books on a seventh grade reading level, and you have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what you’re writing about--so, what if I spread a rumor that you are the author of some of my stories.  Can you think of any reason why you wouldn’t want to be considered the author of a book about Dinosaur Ghosts? Of course you can’t.

With that in mind, let me just say, I LOVED your book Dinosaur Ghost.  It was so nice to see an actual plot in one of your books, and by that I mean a plot I could understand.  Not that it wasn’t complicated: Boy meets girl.  Boy gets eaten by ghost of a dinosaur.  Dinosaur Ghost seeks revenge against conservatives for using remains to fuel SUVs.  Dinosaur Ghost seeks comfort and companionship with other male dinosaur ghost.   Second dinosaur ghost gets drunk and makes out with diplodocus at a dinner party.  First dinosaur ghost takes revenge on second dinosaur ghost by having sex with girl.  Girl falls in love with dinosaur ghost.  Dinosaur Ghost reconciles with other dinosaur ghost.  Girl falls for next best thing--monkey man monster that wandered into the story in chapter eleven.  Now that's complication I can get into!

You know, I’m pretty sure this is the kind of story prize committees are looking for.  This may finally get you that Pulitzer you’ve been waiting for. 


Your pal,