October 13, 2014

Post #3833 – 20141013

Hi, I'm that kid who put together that strange song (made up of snippets of your NPR interviews) that you put at the beginning of your first podcast. I was 12 then; I'm 19 now.

I think the most important thing I've gotten out of your books is a sense of the world's persistent absurdity, which has helped me get through a lot of challenging experiences thus far.

Thank you for portraying fat people in your books. It really means a lot. If you haven't already, I think it'd be really cool if you tried portraying a chubby girl who doesn't have a problem with her weight (we're extremely rare in media and literature). I think you might appreciate this scientific explanation about why having fat is a good thing and that the term "overweight" has no medical basis (but things like BMI were invented by the weight loss industry): It's helped me accept my body a lot more and realize that I'm not going to keel over and die early because I'm a little bigger than other people.

I've been trying meditating recently to help improve my life, and according to your recent profile in the Forward, you're pretty good at it. (Reading Alan Mendelsohn introduced me to the idea of meditation.) Do you have any tips about meditating?

I also got a dog named Henry who's black with a blue tongue. I'm clicker training him and it's clear he's pretty smart. What do you think about the idea of dominance theory?

Also, what are your favorite books?

Daniel replies:

While Webmaster Ed and I were having fun making the podcasts you were doing the hard work of growing up. Cool

I don't think the world is absurd. Just the humans.

I do have some fat girl characters, in Fat Camp Commandos and Fat Camp Commandos go west, also in the Big Bob books, some of which are pretty funny. I haven't considered a fat girl in a novel since I wrote that adult novel, The Afterlife Diet, and got into a lot of correspondence and discussion with fat activists--and got very bored with the whole business, which can happen if you have contact with activists.

According to all the statistics I know about, it's practically impossible for significantly fat people to become non-fat people. So it would make sense not to make reducing a goal, and instead seek a health-inducing lifestyle. This might include eating intelligently, taking exercise, and avoiding destructive habits including worrying, having a negative self-image, and falling for promotions by the weight loss industry and advertising.

Here is the only tip I know about meditating. The best way to learn it is to find someone who is good at it, and have them show you, simply by doing it with them. If they want to charge you money or join something, maybe move on and find another, or say you left your wallet at home.

Same thing with dog training, although it is ok to pay a reasonable amount for that. I don't know what you mean by dominance theory. I require my dogs to sit and wait before being given a treat, sit and wait until I tell them ok before going through a door, and never going through a door before me. They don't even realize they're being trained. Dogs can read your mind. If you're in a calm state, the dog is likely to match it, if you're anxious, the dog is anxious.

I'm done. I am skipping the favorite books question. I wonder if Webmaster Ed still has that song.