Mary Ann Tharaldsen & Thomas Pynchon


pynchon7One of the readers of this blog gave me a heads-up about my ex-wife giving accounts of her relationship with Thomas Pynchon in the New York magazine. When I googled for a picture for this magazine, I came upon a ‘Fashion’ issue. On the cover was a woman with a rose tattoo. I found another photo of this tattoo. Is it real? These photos blow my mind!

Last week Mary Ann and I talked about reforming a light-weight bond with “no drama”. But it was a life size drawing of Mary Ann – my wife – that started a very dramatic battle.

Mary Ann had told me while living in Mexico with Pynchon he had her stand nude before a mirror holding a rose.

In my studio, I had my wife pose nude but for a sheet that hung over one shoulder. The edge of it did not cover the V of her mound, whom she told me her doctor told her he had never seen a more beautiful one. I concur!

Now, go pick yourself a rose, and put it in Mary Ann’s hand – and all hell breaks lose.

Mary Ann’s fifteen year old son was very upset when he saw this drawing. We had not told him we were going to L.A. to get married, and now, I am beholding his adopted mother in the buff. There was no complaint when we made love in a vocal manner.

If the truth be known, Art has destroyed my life – and my marriage! Is it any wonder Thomas flies under the radar.

In the top photo is Mary Ann singing along with Bryan McLean of ‘Love’. My jealous girlfriend tore this photo, and many others. I think Rena’s little photo did not survive. I believe I was the one who told Bryan he could be in love with almost everyone when he came to me for advice. He loved Christine Rosamond, but, there were other roses in his life he wanted to – enjoy!

Like his mother, Bryan was a gifted artist. His drawing of beach bunnies and surfers, would be in a museum, if they survived. We worked on our creations together in one class at University High. Marilyn was there, and became a fashion designer. She is just out of the picture.

Love’s ‘The Red Telephone’ was chosen for the best depiction of an LSD high – with concert! We had so much guts – so much love! I regret nothing! I get that acid taste and sensation in my throat just looking at that cosmic crowd and hearing Ravi Shankar.

Who, or, what, is offering the world anything like this? To see children dying from poison gas – is soul shattering!

This is not our world!

Jon Presco

Copyright 2013

New York magazine’s Fall Fashion issue (out on Monday), enjoy a sneak preview of the cover image featuring actress-director Lake Bell, whose new movie, “In A World …,” opens this weekend. Shot by Mark Seliger for New York, Bell wears a (fake) tattoo of her husband Scott Campbell’s design.

“Two of Pynchon’s Cornell friends, his future girlfriend Tharaldsen and her then-husband, David ­Seidler, had moved to Seattle and encouraged Pynchon to join them. Tharaldsen says Pynchon arrived “depressed—very down.” She worked for Boeing, and hooked him up with a job writing technical copy for their in-house guide, Bomarc Service News. The aerospace giant was just then developing the Minuteman, a nuclear-capable missile that likely inspired Pynchon, years later, to cast Germany’s World War II–era V-2 rocket as the screaming menace of Gravity’s Rainbow. (One of the joys of tracking Pynchon is tracing the far-flung interconnections in his work to unlikely real-world experiences—dating an NSA worker; seeing Charles de Gaulle in Mexico; fooling around on a primitive music synthesizer in 1972.)

“…one afternoon in the mid-sixties, he and his then-girlfriend, Mary Ann Tharaldsen, were driving through Big Sur when she complained of nausea. She wanted to stop at a bar and have a shot to settle her stomach. According to Tharaldsen, he exploded, telling her he would not tolerate midday drinking. When she asked why, he told her he’d seen his mother, after drinking, accidentally puncture his father’s eye with a clothespin. It was the only time, says Tharaldsen, who lived with him, that he ever mentioned his family. “He was disconnected from them,” she says. “There seems to have been something not good there.”

Pynchon left Cornell in order to enlist in another Cold War operation, the Navy. He once wrote that ­calculus was “the only class I ever failed,” but he’s always used self-deprecation to deflect inquiries, and professors ­remembered universally good grades. Tharaldsen says she saw Pynchon’s IQ score, somewhere in the 190s. So why would he leave? He wrote much later about feeling in college “a sense of that other world humming out there”—a sense that would surely nag him from one city to another for the rest of his life. He was also in thrall to Thomas Wolfe and Lord Byron. Most likely he wanted to follow their examples, to experience adventure at ground level and not from the command centers

One colleague remembered Pynchon as ornery and solitary on the job. But he managed to turn in V. eighteen months after signing the contract, meeting his own arbitrary deadline on the nose. After a few months of intense editing by mail, he used the $1,000 to quit his job at Boeing, vowing never to work for a corporation again. He called it his “escape money,” and he wanted to make it last—by running again, this time to Mexico.

Love Song to a Stranger

How long since I’ve spent a whole night in a twin bed with a stranger?
His warm arms all around me
How long since I’ve gazed in the dark eyes that melted my soul down
To a place where it longs to be?
All of your history has little to do with your face
You’re mainly a mystery with violins filling in space

You stood in the nude by the mirror and picked out a rose
From the bouquet in our hotel
And lay down beside me again and I watched the rose
On the pillow as it fell
I sank and I slept in a twilight with only one care
To know that when day broke and I woke that you’d still be there
You’d still be there

The hours for once they passed slowly, unendingly by
Like a sweet breeze on a field
Your gentleness came down upon me and I guess I thanked you
When you caused me to yield
We spoke not a sentence, took not a footstep beyond
Our two days together which seemingly soon would be gone
Soon would be gone

Don’t tell me of love everlasting and other sad dreams
I don’t want to hear
Just tell me of passionate strangers who rescue each other
From a lifetime of cares
‘Cause if love means forever expecting nothing returned
Then I hope I’ll be given another whole lifetime to learn

‘Cause you gave to me oh so many things it makes me wonder
How they could belong to me
And I gave you only my dark eyes which melted your soul down
To the place where it longs to be


About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Mary Ann Tharaldsen & Thomas Pynchon

  1. Reblogged this on rosamondpress and commented:

    The Midland City Arts Festival is coming – as Godzilla! Ruuuuuun!

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