Monthly Archives: July 2008

Powell’s – City of Books!

Powell’s is a bookstore located in Portland, Oregon, often referred to as a
City of Books. While I don’t think it formally qualifies as its own outright
megalopolis (I doubt if people actually live there, or that it has its own
system of government – maybe it’s like the Vatican, a city-within-a-city), it
certainly is the most impressive independent bookstore in all of creation.

Recently, the Good People of Powell’s sent me a bunch of questions to
answer, asking me to pick seven. Well, I couldn’t decide and ended up
answering all of them, thinking they would only use a few. Lo and behold,
they kept every blessed one – for better and for worse. Yikes! I fear I
revealed too much, and am half-expecting a team of doctors to visit my home
in the dead of night, with my paper smock and cup of lime Jell-O. Read it
for yourself! 

Powells Kids Q and A

Even Wall Street Digs Heck!

Meghan Cox Gurdon of the Wall Street Journal – that bastion of all things
“kid” – had swell things to say about Heck in this weekend’s edition. Thanks
Meghan! No netherworld detention for you, unless you dog-eared the pages of
the book rather than used a bookmark – that really bugs me.

Read the review here: Wall Street Journal Review

What, exactly, is HECK?

I’m so glad you asked!

Heck is, in a nutshell, middle school: only a fantastical, ridiculous one populated by nasty demons and dead, cranky historical figures. For me, the middle school years were a terrible, terrible time.

You’re not treated like an adorable little kid anymore who can get away with anything with a shrug and a mischievous smile. And you’re not given the respect, responsibility, and – perhaps most importantly – the credit card and car keys of a young adult.

You’re just stuck in this maddening in between place that feels like eternity, where everything is happening both too fast and too slow. Plus, you’re trapped inside an increasingly unrecognizable body that is constantly freaking you out and under constant assault by perspective-shattering hormones.

Now back to The Explanation of the Concept of Heck, already in progress:

Basically (Dale E. Basically), I had been reading Dante’s Inferno (a really cool, really old, and really hard to follow book) and perhaps listening to Pat Benatar’s seminal ”Hell is For Children” (a really cool, really old, and really hard to follow song). I don’t know, whatever the exact circumstances were, somehow the notion of a Hell “Lite” just for children occurred to me, and I just knew it had to be called Heck, a place where the pre-adult souls of the darned toil for all eternity, or until they turn 18, whichever comes first.



Q: If you could pick one Fictional Character to be your best friend…who would you choose, and why?

Dale E. Basye’s Answer: I love fictional characters. Heck, I even wrote about them (sorry for the bad pun). Milton and Marlo are great. So, aside from all the Heck characters that I would love to have as my friend…I would choose Jonathan Livingston Seagull from the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach. It’s a great fable about a seagull learning about life and flight, and self-perfection. 

If Jonathan Livingston Seagull were my friend, he could teach me how to fly. I would live on the beach (my favorite place), and he would help keep the scary, real seagulls away from me—the really vicious ones that squawk, are missing limbs and eyes and have thick, nasty poop that never ever comes off and makes you smell like rancid chowder.

How about you? What fictional character would you choose to be your best friend?