ASM: Have you ever stepped back and realized that your work is considered important? Important in the industry, important academically?
PP: I’m hearing that, but…there’s a line that Frank Herbert has in Dune about when Paul Atreides sort of becomes the leader of the Fremen, where he has a meditation where he basically says that all roles and stations in life are temporary and in order to survive them, you must have a sense of the sardonic where you realize it’s the role, it’s not you. Otherwise it will consume you, and I tell Mark, my editor, when I wake up in the morning, especially since we’ve been traveling so much and being the face of Battling Boy. It’s like I’m the vehicle. This [gesturing at a copy of Battling Boy on the table] is what matters, I’m the vehicle. That’s how I really feel."