Nick Tosches being interviewed in Esquire this month…
Scott Raab: The theme apparent in all your books is, to me, a fearless quest for what’s at the heart of human knowledge.
Nick Tosches: We’re finite creatures, doomed to never get a fraction of what wisdom it would take to deal with infinity. This book has a lot to do with the unbelievable power and beauty of that almost unattainable freedom. Since none of us really gets to know it, we don’t know what extremely powerful dangers might lurk in it.
SR: One of the things that I’ve seen more often in your writing recently is an idea best expressed in Ezra Pound’s line “Do not move, Let the wind speak.”
NT: Those words of Pound, the “120th Canto,” say it all. You’re never gonna outwrite the movement of the white clouds and the blue sky. You’re never going to. There are times when I try to write beautifully, but I don’t know if I’m trying to exorcise my own demons. If I am, there are other ones lurking beneath, because they keep coming out. Maybe little by little I’m fumigating.
SR: I think exorcising them is out of the question. Who are you without your demons?
NT: That’s probably true, but it’s not a truth that we wanna just accept flatly. Look at it like this: This is the most fucked-up species that ever pissed on this planet. What do we have? We have three “one true” gods. Count ’em. Three. And underlying everything is this question: Did man invent good and evil before he invented the gods to protect him from evil, or did he invent the gods first in order to say, “Look, I don’t want anybody fucking my wife, so you’re gonna go to hell if you do that”? All these acts of cowardice, all these gods. We’re just completely fucked up. This is a race of demons.