Thirty-two years ago, a very stoned college student was charged with picking up George Plimpton, the legendary journalist and Paris Review benefactor, and depositing him at the campus where he was scheduled to give a talk. Through his multi-drug-induced haze, said college student successfully, if a bit creepily, completed this task, and managed a handful of odd run-ins with Plimpton in the years that followed. There’s more, and it’s very funny, but I won’t spoil the punchline.
This student grew up to be Dinty W. Moore, a well-known writer of fiction and nonfiction in his own right, and he recounts this tale of accidental stalking in a Google Maps essay called “Mr. Plimpton’s Revenge.” As you’ll quickly see if you click, the essay is literally written in a Google map, and the smart, quirky folks at the literary magazine The Normal School figured out a way to translate the piece—with all its map-embedded charm—into print, which is where I first spied it.
It’s an interesting format, and with a different story or a different writer, I might have thought it gimmicky, but it really works for Moore’s short, suspenseful, somewhat geographical piece. I also (unfortunately) can identify with this problem: “As is so often the case when one picks up a famous writer, I didn’t know what to say, but I couldn’t stop talking.”
Source: The Normal School
Photo by MDCarchives, licensed under Creative Commons.