Nick Westervelt

September 14, 2018

What if Plumbean’s House were a real place?

Hello Daniel, Jill and Lulu!!  

I’m writing to you because I’m starting an arts and events space in Rockland, Maine and I’d like to name it Mister Plumbean’s House, after your loving, accepting, creativitity inspiring character.  

You see, my town is in a moment of confusion.  Long a tourist spot for the glitzy folk from further south, while also a place of respite for artists, sailors and builders, we’ve developed a number of crazy ordinances governing everything and anything, even though we’re trying to be the Arts Capital of the state?!?!  Hard to understand I know, but luckily I was gifted your book and it has all the answers, I am forever thankful.  I’ve purchased a 200 year old chapel, a place of meeting for my community that is no longer needed by it’s builders.  I’m ready to let people paint in the walls, steam shovels, alligators, whatever they like!

I realize it’s a bit late, but I’d like to introduce myself.  My name is Nick Westervelt, I’m 35, I live in a pop up camper inside a garage on a dairy farm on a hill in Union, Maine.  I grew up just south of here, the son of two lesbians in an activist town.  I’ve been involved in the arts since before I was born (my mother’s a violinist you see) and I just can’t seem to stop.  I’ve worked as a welder, a theatrical rigger, a montessori teacher, a farmer, a student, a son and a husband.  I’ve been a painter and a carpenter and a driver, a machinist, a cook and a camp counselor.  I’ve visited 36 of the 50 states and only one other country.  I’ve owned 18 different species of animals, and eaten 12.  

Here’s some pieces that others have written on me and my exploits at various times in my life, I often feel they do better justice than my own explanations.  

Salt Documentary School photos (1997)

Writing (I think this piece is pretty wonderful, captures my childhood well)

Jerry Springer (1992)

Clawhammer Farm Blog (2009-2014)

Planet Money (2010)

New Food Economy (2014)

Knox Free Press (Stupid Paywall, PDF available)

I’d like to invite you to visit me here in Rockland, to see my beautiful town and see my crazy building, it’s 200 years old, and it has a baptism tub.  I can come and pick you up, I can arrange a place for you to stay, just let me know what you need, I can arrange anything but a Blue Lobster (they’re illegal).  No commitments or guarantees asked, I’d simply like to have you over for dinner and hear about your life, and hopefully share some of mine.  Once you’ve seen it in the flesh, you’ll know if the name is right or not.  

Thank you,


Daniel replies:

Sure, you can name your arts and events space anything you like, although I don't think Mr. Plumbean's House is a terribly good name. Fellow around here got hold of a 200-year-old house, very visibly located, and painted it all crazy. The effect was sort of that he was inflicting cruelty on an old structure that hadn't done him any harm. He may have had some solid aesthetic reasons for what he did, but the impression I got was that he just wanted attention. Thanks for including the many links to material about you.