The lovely folks at Pulpozaur asked me to do an interview with them, which went up today, and is particularly cool to my mind in that the site is a Polish site, and so the interview has been translated, which I believe marks the first time I’ve been translated. I always love seeing which bits of interviews people pull title quotes from – this one’s “Elusive in the same ways as the secret truths of the universe,” which I have to admit, sounds like the sort of quote I’d pull to title something. Here’s the bit of the interview that’s from:
I think criticism really has to show you things that weren’t necessarily obvious. And for all that these approaches fall short in terms of strict empiricism, I think they retain a lot of attraction. I’m not sure Freud did a great job of understanding many actual people, but man, he understands Hamlet well. And for all the failings of Marxist governments – and obviously a Polish readership is going to have a more acute understanding of that than I do – I think he captures what it feels like to be a relatively poor worker under capitalism like nobody else. So they’re good for finding new ways of looking at things, especially art, which isn’t bounded by empiricism anyway.
So I’m drawn to occultism, as an interpretive method, for many of the same reasons. There’s something about the idea that there’s some sort of lost, hidden order to things that’s just immediately compelling. Even if it’s just the human instinct for pattern recognition firing blindly at the random noise of an ultimately meaningless universe, which I don’t rule out, the sense of some almost present truth that slips out of reach whenever you grasp at it is fundamentally compelling. And so it’s a useful way to get at stories; especially because art tends to be elusive in exactly the same way as the secret truths of the universe.