So what is your opinion of your hometown?
Oh, I’m awfully fond of it . . . Brookline really is the most interesting place on earth. A lot of history flows out of Brookline. While it was not his birthplace, it was the adopted home of Frederick Law Olmstead, who sought to destroy all cities and remake America as a very beautifully landscaped wilderness. I think it has the world’s highest concentration of paperback copies of One Hundred Years of Solitude, thanks to the School Within a School program at Brookline High School. There’s a lot that’s very unique and special about it.
It contains multitudes.
Oh, indeed. It is the Macondo of Eastern Massachusetts.
You are an expert in “matters historical, matters literary, matters cryptozoological, hobo matters . . . ”
You don’t have to go through it all.
Yes, well, you know what you're an expert in.
Which of these areas of inquiry are your favorites, and have you thought about branching out?
Well, one of the first ideas that made sense for the book was famous monsters and their hunters, which describes the somewhat complex relationship with various, as-yet-to-be-scientifically verified creatures such as the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch, etcetera, with some of the men, typically, who have been obsessed with finding them. The cryptozoological part, I still like it quite a bit. I’m working on a new book, More Information Than You Require, and I find myself coming back and finding that I did not do enough on cryptozoology. So I’ve been pondering a lot the Wikipedia, which is my favorite source on the Internet for dubious scholarship, particularly its list of cryptids.
Y’know, I was just reading that yesterday!
Were you really? That’s a strange coincidence. Did you check out the Mongolian Blood Worm?
I did not. I was actually reading about the Chupacabra-type beast that they found up in Maine, where I'm from.
Oh yeah, I heard about that. Yes, it’s very unusual, isn’t it?
Yes. I think it looks like a dog.
You’re from Maine, originally? Whereabouts?
I’m from Cape Elizabeth, which is near Portland.
Hmmm, I don’t think so. I’m not sure you have that right.
They have "sharp gravelly beaches and painful oceans” there, as you put it.
Oh, that is Maine. And apparently now Chupacabras! Well, as you know, Maine has been preyed upon by invasive species since its beginning. Originally the lobster, as you know, was imported to New York, specifically Central Park. And it caused such trouble there that Teddy Roosevelt had to have them all packed up and shipped away to Maine. Because at that point it was a wilderness, basically. There, the lobster grappled with and ultimately destroyed a competing species — the creature that had, until that point, been known as the lobster in Maine — a kind of sea otter. And it may be now that the new Down-east Chupacabra will destroy the lobster and become the new lobster, as it were.