Pynchon

Pynchon Photographed

Starting to read some Pynchon, that’s new. I’m attempting Gravity’s Rainbow, that notoriously complex Post-Modern tome. It’d be real cool to meet the guy–Thomas Pynchon, that is, though he’s the reclusive equivalent of two Salingers.

You ever seen his picture?

It’s strangely iconic, since, for one, not many authors’ photos are iconic; I am, of course, excluding Poe, Twain, Hemingway, and Faulkner from that category. Pynchon’s got a sallowly narrow face, and the photo gives it these rugged contortions (grains, black-and-white specks) that have no bearing on his sharp gaze, the kind looking across lands and oceans from an at-first-glance stagnant P.O.V.. The Academic in full, albeit noticeably coordinated, exposure. He’s the P.M God chugging along an intellectual legacy with as many bumps in its cruise control as there are abrupt dips giving rise to its lengthy leaps. A lapel’s barely visible in the frame, but it’s enough to solidify his title and open imaginative capabilities as to whether he’s rocking elbow patches or chalk dust. Harvard or Cambridge, those locales rumble through the mind and have no business there. Neither of them. More like Cornell U. Something about the picture’s content/context; it makes you want to jump to the uppermost ranking, top of the charts of those charts. Pynchon. Winner of the National Book Award. It should fit together, Ivy League and literary achievement. At least, those are the connotations I’m faced with, wonder about yours–and wouldn’t you know it, but connotations aren’t more than rigidly set opinions set forth by categorical majorities more or less agreeing on stereotypes.

I’m doing that. So are you. We’re both participating.

Should be a good book, Gravity’s Rainbow. I haven’t started, but it’s next on my list. I’ll get around to it, after I’m done examining his photo.

Think daily,

A Southpaw