Jonathan Franzen: I Keep Pot In My Freezer

Jonathan Franzen keeps marijuana in his freezer, author Elif Batuman writes in The Guardian.

Batuman, a National Book Critics Circle finalist and the author of "The Posessed," writes that while in New York around NBCC ceremonies, she attended a dinner thrown by her publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, for its three NBCC finalists: Damon Searles, Jonathan Franzen and herself. When talk between her and her agent turned to who at the dinner might have marijuana, they agreed that Franzen was the most likely candidate.

During the exchange, which Batuman outlines below, Franzen admitted that he had marijuana — but it was home in his freezer:

I told him that I had loved Freedom, which is true and would have been a great ending point for our exchange. So it's difficult to articulate what possessed me, at a later, boozier point in the dinner, to ask Franzen whether he had any weed...

"Wheat?" Franzen's agent repeated, frowning. "Why would you need wheat?"

"Not wheat - weed."

She stared at me blankly.

"Weed," my agent repeated.

"There's some in my freezer," Franzen said. "But it's all the way uptown."

Franzen's come a long way on drugs since he was a teenager.

In his 2006 memoir, "The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History," he wrote about that he was "not a worldly fourteen-year-old" — meaning that he did not indulge in marijuana:

Regarding drugs, I couldn't help noticing that a lot of kinds at school were getting high to fortify themselves for classes. Missouri schoolyard pot in 1973 was a weak, seedy product, and users had to take so many hits that they came inside reeking of smoke, the way the physical-science room reeked once a year, after the Distillation of Wood. But I was not a worldly fourteen-year-old. I didn't even know what to call the stuff that kids were smoking. The word "pot" to me had the quotation-marked ring of moms and teacher trying to sound hipper than they really were, which was unpleasantly close to a description of myself. I was determined to say "dope" instead, because that was what my friend Manley said, but this word, too, had a way of losing its cool on my tongue; I wasn't one hundred percent sure that actual pot-smokers called marijuana "dope," and the long "o" shriveled in my mouth like a raisin, and the word came out sounding more like "duip."