Norman, Enjoy The Next Life My Friend

Norman Kingsley Mailer
January 31, 1923 – November 10, 2007

In one of his last interviews Norman Mailer, interviewed by Andrew O'Hagan for The Paris Review in the Summer 2007 issue, talks about reincarnation.

Interviewer: You believe in reincarnation. So what are you coming back as, Norman?

Mailer: Well, I'm waiting, right? I'm in the waiting room. And finally my name is called. I go in and there's a monitoring angel who says, Mr. Mailer, we're very glad to meet you. We've been looking forward to your arrival. Let me tell you the good news, absolutely good news, is you've been passed for reincarnation. I say, Oh thank you, yes, I really didn't want to go into eternal peace. And the monitoring angel says, Well, between us, it isn't really necessarily eternal peace. It can be a little hectic. But nonetheless, the fact of the matter is that you've been passed for reincarnation. Let me see, before I look and see what we've got you down for, we always ask people, What would you like to be in your next life? And I say, Well, I think I'd like to be a black athlete. I don't care where you put me, I'll take my chances, but yes, that's what I want to be, a black athlete. And the monitoring angel says, Listen, Mailer, we're so oversubscribed in that department. Everybody want to be a black athlete in their next life. I don't know now..I can't begin to...let me see what we've got you booked for. So he opens the big book, looks, and says, Well, we've got you down for a cockroach. But here's the good news: you'll be the fastest cockroach on the block.

Interviewer: Not bad.

Mailer: Reincarnation is the best evidence of God's sense of wit and judgement. God, I repeat, is not a lawgiver. He is a creator, and creators have judgement.

Mailer was the last of an exceptional breed. When artists were tough, brave and they were heros. They lived in a time when America was not ruined by television, celebrity sightings and people didn't walk down the street sipping $4 frappochinos. Mailer discusses the fall from grace of the American novelist in his O'Hagan interview, which on a side note I nominate and award as the best interview of the year. There shall be more on Mailer in this blog for sure...To Be Continued...