Friday, 9 November 2012

An Interview with Eeyore

[Philosopher, character in books]

“I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.”

We went to see Eeyore last year at his home in Connecticut. The eighty-three-year-old was promoting his latest book, Epistles About Thistles, about writing letters to himself about thistles. He came to the door with his dog, Herman (after Melville), and for the next two hours was everything one might expect him to be: furious, caustic, darkly hilarious, and, above all, warm about life and love and what matters most.

After his death, in May, much was written about Eeyore’s legendary crossness, but it was really just impatience with artifice. “I refuse to lie to children,” he said. “I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.” There was no roughness in his delivery. It was spiked with merriment. He was also very tender. Famously, he hated being called a “children’s book character”—it reduced him, he thought.
The Editors

G'MORNING POETRY: Do you miss the city, living out here?

EEYORE: I really don’t like the city anymore. You get pushed and harassed and people grope you. It’s too tumultuous. It’s too crazy. I’m afraid of falling over in New York. People are all insane and talking on machines and twittering and twottering. All that. I’m here looking for peace and quiet. A yummy death.

GP: You do some teaching out here?

E: I have a fellowship that started last year, two men and two women living in a house, and I go over when they want me to critique, or whatever the hell. I just talk dirty. They’re nice people. Young. It’s probably not very original, but old artists like to have young artists around… to destroy. I’m joking. I really want to help them. But publishing is such an outrageously stupid profession. Or has become so.

GP: What do you think of e-books?

E: I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex.

GP: Are you happy now?

E: [Sighs] My friends are all dying. They have to die. I know that. I have to die. But two friends died last week. I was completely broken by it. One was a publisher in Zurich. I loved him and his wife. It’s the loneliness that’s very bad. They’re doing what is natural. If I was doing what was natural I would be gone, like they are. I just miss them, terribly.

GP: Did the success of Winnie-the-Pooh ever feel like an albatross?
E: It’s a nice book. It’s perfectly nice. I can’t complain about it. I remember Herman Melville said, “When I die no one is going to mention Moby-Dick. They’re all going to talk about my first book, about fucking maidens in Tahiti.”

GP: How come you've never married or had children?

E: There’s a young artist in this town who’s remarkably gifted, and I’ve been tutoring him on the side. And he had this marvelous girlfriend, and I saw what was happening. And I said, “Look, don’t marry. Happily you can live together without any stench.” And they married and within eight minutes she was pregnant. And now they have a child, and all they do is complain about not having time and having to get a job. Fuck you!

GP: Thank you for talking with us.

E: Thanks for noticing me.

Illustration by Tony Trillionaire

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