Mike Lanza

May 26, 2009

Post #2507 – 20090526


I’m actually trying to contact Daniel. The DP Forum link on the site doesn’t work, so I’m trying you.

I’ve redone my front yard reminiscent of what Daniel wrote about in The Big Orange Splot in an effort to inspire children to play in our neighborhood in Menlo Park, CA, and it seems to be working!

Here are some of the wild/weird elements we have here:

– a 30-foot long whiteboard

– a huge picnic table with storage benches for board games, books, munchies, etc.

– a projector + computer + speaker inside one of the benches, projecting on the whiteboard

– a sandbox

– a fountain

– a basketball hoop on our driveway

– a life-size maze on our driveway (within 2 weeks)

– a mosaic of houses on our block inspired by The Big Orange Splot with a quote from there (within 3 weeks)

Here’s an article about the front yard:


And here’s an article about my efforts to get neighborhood play to happen here:


I’d *love* to talk to Daniel about this, and maybe even for him to talk to NPR folks about this as a story for them.

I look forward to hearing from you or him!

– Mike Lanza

Daniel replies:

It's interesting--I write a book, in this case The Big Orange Splot, and it gets printed and distributed, and it's out there. Then people read the book, and make something of it--the key word is ""make."" Some people have sent me pictures of eccentric, self-expressive houses they came across. Some people have decorated their houses in an unusual manner before or after reading the book. In one case a whole street of houses got unusual paintjobs, and the people who painted them thought that related to the book. And here this guy creates a special kind of playground. Would he have done it without ever reading my book? Probably. Did the book inspire him, or give him some support for his own creative ideas? Possibly. It's what I always say: What I do when I write is never as important as what you do when you read.