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Thomas Pynchon in Cincinnati?

 

I have some friends whose endeavors – be they artistic, commercial or a combination thereof – I’m about to publicize, but because readership tends to lag when eggnog get consumed and mistletoe talks I figured I would choose one of my own pieces to go under-read.

So here it is, folks, a slice of history, a blast from the past. In 1996 I read a couple short stories at a literary reading at York Street Cafe, back when Terri Ford presided over that superb series. At that point my goal in life was to write four-page short stories as opposed to the more open-ended and expansive fiction to which I am naturally drawn. I never quite achieved that goal, but I did whittle my stories down to reasonable lengths. After my York Street reading someone called me from City Beat to ask if she could run my Thomas Pynchon piece in City Beat in place of the literary news that she normally covered, and I said yes.

This is definitely a piece that could have been a lot bigger – a thousand pages bigger if I had let my imagination run wild. Thomas Pynchon is a Big Picture kind of guy, and I have that in me too. The condensed version has its own appeal, though, or so I hope. Here’s a story, half-true and half-concocted, about what took place or might have taken place when a post-modern novelist did or didn’t check out our town. The cast of characters includes the post-modern band Lotion, the post-modern laundromat known as Sudsy Malone’s, The Twilight Zone and the Sub Galley (misspelled the Sub Gallery – what was I thinking? No – wait a minute…blame it on the editor!). ¬†At some point a Pynchon scholar contacted me about the piece; I can’t remember why, but it was nice to know that word traveled.¬†Thanks to Amy from Working America for scanning this and saving to a pdf so I could convert it to a jpg for this blog: