Nicholson Baker

  • Aired:  09/18/13
  •  | Views: 14,679

Author Nicholson Baker discusses his garden metaphor for life and his desire to rename genitalia. (6:12)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,EVERYBODY.

OUR GUEST TONIGHT HAS A BOOKCALLED "THE TRAVELING

SPRINKLER."

IT'S LIKE "ON THE ROAD" BUT FORSPRINKLERS.

PLEASE WELCOME NICHOLSON BAKER.

PLEASE WELCOME NICHOLSON BAKER.

YOU'VE WRITTEN NINE NOVELSINCLUDING AND FIVE NON-FICTION

BOOKS.

YOUR LATEST IS A NOVEL CALLEDTRAVELING WITH SPRINKLERS.

WOULD YOU ALSO THROW IN THEGARDEN WEASEL $40 VALUE

ABSOLUTELY FREE?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> THE TRAVELING SPRINKLEERS THE

REASON I CHOSE IT FOR TITLE OFTHE BOOK IS BECAUSE I WANTED TO

THINK ABOUT THE WAY WE WE LIVE-- WE LIVE BY -- SWRE A KIND OF

GARDEN OF THOUGHT, MAYBE.

THE THINGS THAT WE'REPREOCCUPIED BY AND WE ARRANGE A

HOSE AROUND THOSE THINGS AND WEPUT THE TRAVELING SPRINKLER ON

IT AND WE WET IT.

>> Stephen: WHAT IS THETRAVELING SPRINKLER.

ARE WE TRAVELING SPRINKLER ORARE WE THE GUARD SGLN WE ARE THE

TRAVELING SPRINKLER.

>> Stephen: AND WE TRAVELTHROUGH THE GARDEN OF OUR LIFE.

>> WE DO.

>> Stephen: WHO SETS THE HOSEDOWN?

WHO PAYS THE WATER BILL?

(LAUGHTER)>> WE -- WE DO IT ALL.

WE START, WE SET IT UP, WE WATCHIT HAPPEN AND THEN WE'RE DONE.

>> Stephen: WE DO ALL OF IT.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: WE SHOULD GET SOMEHELP.

(LAUGHTER)CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE GARDEN FOR

A SECOND BECAUSE I LIKE THAT --IT'S A METAPHOR.

IS THAT A MET SNORE.

>> Stephen:>> YOU KNOW BETTER THAN I.

>> Stephen: I DON'T, ACTUALLY.

I'VE NEVER WRITTEN FICTION.

A METAPHOR IS WHEN SOMETHING ISSOMETHING ELSE.

LIKE YOUR BEARD IS ALLCHRISTMAS.

(LAUGHTER)>> YES, YES.

IT USED TO BE KIND OF DARKER.

IT WAS AN AMBER WAVES OF GRAINKIND OF THING.

>> Stephen: YOUR BEARD USED TOBE AMERICA.

AND THE BEARD WAS A METAPHOR FORAMERICA AND NOW IT'S A METAPHOR

FOR CHRISTMAS!

>> IT TURNED WHITE AND I THOUGHTWELL, GO WITH IT.

>> Stephen: CAN I ASK YOUSOMETHING?

HOW ABOUT DOWNTOWN?

IS IT, UM --(LAUGHTER)

ALSO WHITE?

THE LOWER LOCKER?

IS IT --(LAUGHTER)

>> YOU ARE INTIMATE!

>> Stephen: WELL, YOUR BOOKS AREVERY INTIMATE.

YOU HAVE ALL KINDS OF NAMES INYOUR BOOKS FOR THE TWIGS AND

BERRIES DOWN THERE.

YOU CALL IT THE THUNDER STICK,IS THAT WHAT YOU CALL IT?

>> I THINK THAT THERE ARE --.

>> Stephen: YOU DO.

YOU CALL IT THE THUNDER STICK.

>> P YOU -- I DO.

>> Stephen: YOU'VE CALLED IT THEMALCOLM GLADWELL.

>> Stephen:>> I'VE CALLED IT THE MALCOLM

GLADWELL.

>> Stephen: WHAT DOES MALCOLMGLADWELL THINK OF THAT?

>> I DON'T KNOW.

BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS ACOMPLEMENT.

>> Stephen: YOU NAMED YOUR PENISAFTER --

>> NOT MY PENIS.

>> Stephen: OKAY, I APOLOGIZE.

LOOK>> LOOK, THE WE US IN IS A BAD

WORD FOR WHAT WE HAVE.

IT'S NOT A GOOD WORD.

THERE ARE ALL THESE WORDS WEHAVE FOR SEXUAL PIECES OF

OURSELVES AND THEY'RE ALL BADLYDESIGNED.

SOMEBODY CAME UP WITH THEM ALONG TIME AGO AND WE HAVE TO

COME UP WITH NEW WORDS FOR THEM.

(LAUGHTER)>> Stephen: LET'S GET BACK TO

THAT GARDEN FOR A SECOND.

(LAUGHTER)IS A GARDEN -- LET'S SAY CALL

THE GARDEN FOR THE MIND FOR ASECOND, CAN WE DO THAT?

>> YES.

>> Stephen: YOU SOMETIMES DRILLDOWN.

YOU HAVE SUCH AN INTRICATE LEVELOF PLANTS IN YOUR -- IN YOUR

GARDEN.

FIRM THE MEZZANINE YOURCHARACTER IS -- IT TAKES PLACE

GOING UP AN ESCALATOR.

IT'S ABOUT A FIVE-MINUTE TRIPTHAT TAKES A 200 PAGE BOOK.

>> IT'S A TRAVEL BOOK.

>> Stephen: YES, IT'S A TRAVELBOOK.

IT IS.

IT IS.

BUT IT'S ALMOST A SCHIZOPHRENICLEVEL OF DETAIL IN THE THINGS

YOU WRITE.

YOU SEE PATTERNS ALL OVER THEPLACE.

SOMETIMES WHERE MAYBE PATTERNSDON'T EXIST.

HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT OF YOURWRITING AS A CRY FOR HELP?

(LAUGHTER)>> I LOOK AT IT DIFFERENTLY.

I THINK YOU REALLY -- ANYONE WHOLIVES A LIFE AND THIS IS ABOUT

IT EVERYDAY AND KIND OF AD HOCJUST IDEAS ABOUT WHAT'S

HAPPENING.

AND THOSE THINGS ARE EVENTUALLYWORTH PUTTING A BOOK.

>> Stephen: WHY NOT A BROADSTAGE OF MORE ACTION, QUALITY

KILLS?

(LAUGHTER)>> GOOD IDEAS.

BUT I THINK THAT -- WHEN YOU --WHEN YOU'RE GOING ALONG AND

THINKING ABOUT WHAT ACTUALLYHAPPENS TO HUMAN BEINGS THE WAY

WE -- THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE,WE'RE LUCKY PEOPLE.

BAD THINGS DON'T NORMALLY HAPPENTO US BUT WHAT NOVELISTS OR

SCREEN WRITERS DO IS THEY THINKWE NEED AN EXPLOSION OF SOME

KIND.

AND IT'S STUPID, YOU KNOW?

THAT'S JUST --(LAUGHTER)

BUT WHAT WE ACTUAL CITY WILL DOIS WE READ THE NEWS AND WHEN WE

READ THE NEWS WE HAVE ALL SORTSOF EXPLOSIONS COMING IN ALL THE

TIME.

WE HAVE ALL THESE HORRIBLETHINGS THAT COME IN INDIRECTLY

THROUGH NEWS CHANNELS.

>> Stephen: I'M IN THE NEWSBUSINESS MYSELF.

I'M ONE OF THE PEOPLE BRINGINGYOU ALL THOSE TERRIBLE STORIES.

>> AND I'M ENORMOUSLY GRATEFUL.

>> Stephen: YOU'RE WELCOME.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

>> IT MAKES ME -- IT MAKES MEFEEL -- IT MAKES US FEEL BAD,

YOU KNOW, TO --.

>> Stephen: THE WORLD IS A SCARYPLACE.

THE WORLD IS A SCARY PLACE.

YEAH, YEAH.

(LAUGHTER)THE NICHOLSON, THANK YOU SO

MUCH.

NICHOLSON BAKER THE BOOK

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