Archive for Thursday, September 23, 1999


September 23, 1999


Take a trip with some of America's favorite authors. It will be pun-demonium.

Theme parks are fun, especially when the roller coasters aren't killing people.

Americans don't know enough about their literary heritage.

Simple and elegant solution: Combine the two.

I propose an American authors theme park. We could call it The Steven King-dom or Huck Finn-land (that might be more suited to Scandinavian writers). Perhaps we should just call it Yoknapatawpha County.

There would be rides, games, shopping and food. All specifically named in honor of this country's literary giants. Let's go buy some John Dos-passes and tour the park.

The park could be divided into geographic sections, such as visiting 19th-century Jack London or the bucolic countryside of Tennessee Williams or stroll through apple country of Washington Irving.

All the streets also would be named after authors. You could drive down Mickey Spil-Lane or Ernest Heming-Way. If it rains and your car gets stuck in the Bernard Mala-mud, guest services will pull you out using a Steven Crane. If the attractions are too far for you to walk, rent an Ogden Nash Rambler or a Richard Ford.

You could stick your finger in the John Up-dike, which is holding back the Tom Clan-sea.

For the botanically minded visitors, they could marvel at the Edward Al-bees buzzing around Judy Blumes in the Earl Stanley Gardens. But watch out for the sharp Nathaniel Haw-thorne bushes. You're just in time to see the fabulous colors of the F. Scott Fitz-geraniums. Walk through the Ray Brad-berry patch.

To relax, string up your Dashiell Hammock in the shade under the Larry McMur-tree. Or you could spend your time hanging out with other William Faulk-nerds.

Wager at the Zane Grey-hound track. Listen to the park's strolling minstrels, the Isaac Bashevis Singers. See the zoo, featuring the Wolfe pack, Thomas and Nero, the donkeys, mules and the Burroughs, William and Edgar Rice.

Visit the James Bald-Winter Wonderland, but don't get Robert Frost-bitten.

The park's food court will be second to none.

Go to the Chinese restaurant and have the Edgar Allen Poe-Poe platter. Visit the Carson McCullers all-you-can-eat "salad at the bad cafe." Dine in fine style at the Truman Capo-tea house.

At the bakery, have a creme-filled Upton Eclair, a few warm Dorothy Parker house rolls, some Anne Rice pudding, a Joyce Carol Oates bran muffin or some candy from our Walt Whitman sampler.

At the diner, have a Carl Sand-burger, a pork patty from the city of big shoulders, or an Allen Gins-burger, served with a kosher pickle. Or try a John Gris-ham and cheese sandwich, with some Lillian Hellman mayonnaise. Maybe a tasty J.D. Salad-ger. Or order a Faulkner special: an Absalom, Ab-salami sandwich.

Can you say shopping? There will be all manner of shops.

Purchase all the commemorative beer mugs, the Gertrude Stein, the John Stein-beck, the Shel Silver-stein and a Wendy Wasser-stein.

Check out our haberdashery, the Tom "Wolfe in sheep's clothing" store, where all the clothes are handmade on our exclusive Maya Ange-loom.

Buy a quilt, blanket or Afghan to keep warm, perhaps a cozy James Thurberrrrrrr or an Edna Ferberrrrrrr.

Purchase some Jack Kerou-action figures.

At the Walden Woods thrift store, purchase Henry David throw pillows or throw rugs.

The park also will feature overnight accommodations and all the comforts of home.

Stay at the E.B. White-washed houses of seven gables on E.L. Doctor-Row. Keep warm next to the rustic Harriet Beecher Stoves. Sleep on a Louisa May Al-cott.

At the post office, they carry Norman Mailer envelopes and sell David Halberstamps.

Running short of funds? Head to the currency exchange. Japanese tourists can convert their travelers checks to William Saro-yen, British travelers can cash Ezra Pounds, South Africans can withdraw Ayn Rands or just use the ATM to get a few extra Pearl S. Bucks.

If you have to go to the infirmary, Dr. Seuss will see you now. I hope he doesn't have to install a Willa Catheter. Maybe he'll prescribe a little pick-me-up to get you out of your Edna St. Vincent Malaise.

Let's hope park security doesn't have to pick you up on a Robert Penn Warrant. If so, maybe the judge will grant you Samuel Clemency.

There will be so much to do. And so little time to do it in. You'll need to come back again and again. Maybe on your next vacation, you could head to the theme park of British authors: Graham Greene-land.

-- When not inflicting pun-ishment on his readers, Phil Wilke is wire editor for the Lawrence Journal-World. His e-mail address is

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