wherein I don’t actually say a word about The Neddiad

I think I should reread The Neddiad.  Or maybe get the book on cd and have a listen.  Then I can ascertain the answer to the question:

So, where does The Neddiad fit in the Pinkwater canon?

Once I ask myself that question, I can slap myself silly for asking myself a ridiculous question.  What the heck is a canon?
Lizard Music garners critical respect, and is sort of unofficially titled The Best Thing Pinkwater Ever Wrote.  Alan Mendelsohn is the fan favorite, though I have some serious problems with that book, but those may be just as well because Pinkwater seemed to work out those “flaws” when rehashing the formula in later books.  I am partial to the second Snarkout Boys book, which sort of captured a certain elan of my high school years — perhaps just a trick in the book on tape’s rotation with my Talking Heads cds.   What I can say about Young Adults is that at the end of a particularly dreadful day (the one that involved law enforcement officers), I read and reread the 2 page chapter “Zen Christmas” for about half an hour.  Borgel is somewhat the most Douglas Adam-y of Pinkwater’s books.
I suspect The Neddiad falls somewhere between that bunch of books and Yobgorgle.  I forget just about anything about Yobgorgle.  Did I ever read that a third time?
I see some comments that The Neddiad shows that Pinkwater seems to be writing these days for his loyal fans as opposed to a more general audience, a half-criticism.   I think I would go ahead and give my “aye” to that proposition if the Chicken Man had somehow made an appearance, but as it is I shake my head “no”.  Perhaps the blogger I’m thinking of who made such comments was thinking in a general arc that spreads back to The Education of Robert Nifkin and goes more specifically to Looking for Bobowicz and The Artsy Smartsy Club, as well the audience for the online serializing of The Neddiad.  Looking for Bobowicz and The Artsy Smartsy Club (the latter of which I did not particularly like and don’t think my ten year old self would have liked either — ’twas didactic) were sequels to a 30 year old book.  We could be only so lucky to find that rumored third Snarkout Boys book released — which probably would find the audience of not much more than Pinkwater’s loyal fan-base.

4 Responses to “wherein I don’t actually say a word about The Neddiad”

  1. Daniel Pinkwater Says:

    Why do otherwise intelligent readers, (and I take second place to no author in the matter of reader-intelligence), insist on ranking, rating, arranging, listing in order of preference, quality, league-standing? Canon? Canon? Doesn’t anybody get it? Even people who seem on the verge of getting it, the ones who say, “It’s all one work, the whole thing, isn’t it?” five minutes later are asking, “So which is the best one?” Of course, it’s not all one work–the whole thing. The books are just by-products of me trying to write something with the fewest possible stupid mistakes. I hate art like this–I think there’s nothing duller than centuries of Japanese trying to paint Fujiyama just right, or at least righter than the others–but I’m stuck with it. Of course, I encourage this sort of thing by periodically claiming that whatever I am writing or just wrote is the best one yet–but that’s just my youthful enthusiasm and hopeful thinking. It always fails. Always. Fails.

  2. Justin Says:

    The best reason for ranking, rating, arranging, listing, works of art would be if someone were a Gallery Owner, with, for example, 500 pieces of artwork and room for 100. Beyond that, it’s an exercise in minutiae, and has been culturally indoctrinated by various sources high and low — the American Film Institute and VH1.

    One work? Like 5 Novels. Or 4 Fantastic Novels. Both single volumes. 2 Works, therefor. I recall that you had the idea of fitting a number more into one volume — a thick volume of 20 or so? That would turn 20 or so of your books into another one work.

    I suppose I should next explain what annoys me about Alan Mendelsohn, my comment about “rehashing the formula” and quotation mark “flaws” end quotation mark seeming to be the reason for the comment of “fewest possible mistakes” and “centuries of Japanese trying to paint Fujiyama just right, or at least righter than the others”. I note that in a past life, you described the work in progress of Alan Mendelsohn as “Lizard Music, only twice as long”.

  3. Daniel Pinkwater Says:

    Seems longer. I think there’s a quotation of Picasso’s floating around somewhere to the effect that he painted to see, or show, where he’d been. Given some basic level of aptitude, I think the trick of writing for publication is being able to set aside the commercial concerns of publishers, the helpful intentions of editors, the egoism of critics, the list-mania of librarians, and the needs of fans, who want a book to scratch them exactly where they itch.

  4. Justin Says:

    “who want a book to scratch them exactly where they itch.”
    “I’m not your monkey”.

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