Robert Neubecker: A Self Portrait
Robert Neubecker Revealed
About Robert Neubecker
What is your birthdate?:4/1
High school and/or college:Oshkosh High, University of Wisconsin, Parson's School of Design
Name of your favorite composer or music artist?:Mozart
Favorite television show:The National Basketball Association
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. Love, children, beauty, fun, fear, sadness, resolve, industry
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. your life is what your thoughts make it- Marcus Aurelius
- Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
- A. Wow- You ask the easy ones. My children are small enough that we can all sleep together in our king size bed. My wife, my ten year old, my six year old, my huge German Shepard and all three cats. I always sleep so well those nights. It's an ancient vignette, and repeated all over the world in every country and every culture.
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. Collapsing in the street of New York City. Thwe wierd thing is, that's probably the safest place. Everyone would rush to help you.
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. Right here. If you could look out my window now at dawn over snowy mountains, you'd agree...
- Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
- A. I enjoy Winston Churchill, I admire harry Truman because he spent his twenties behind a plow (sorta like George in "It's a Wonderful Life") I admire these guys, but I more identify with the common man of every era.
- Q. Which living person do you most admire?
- A. My wife, Ruth.
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. Go ask your mother...
- Q. What do you regret most?
- A. I have three, I'm not telling, two don't matter, so I'll quote Sanatra on that.
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. I'd like to have perfect vision. I'm blind in one eye and need trifocals for the other....
- Q. What is your greatest achievement?
- A. My children
- Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
- A. My self absorption.
- Q. What’s your best quality?
- A. You'd have to ask someone else, but I'd say my optimism, although it's a bit bruised at times. Then I spend time with my kids, or helping others, or just go for a walk in nature.
- Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
- A. I don't spend a lot of time thinking like that. But it would be cool to be a dolphin. I see them a lot when I'm out surfing. They are so free.
- Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
- A. Youthfulness, not to say immaturity...
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
- A. John Carter of Mars. I was infallible and his sword wove a web of steel before him.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
- A. Hairy Potty
- Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
- A. When I was twenty, I had an unfinished top floor loft on Fifth Avenue in New York. There wasn't any heat or water at night, but I had seventeen giant windows with beautiful views of the city. I would imagine Leonardo Da Vinci would visit. There were rules. He could come anytime, but only stay in the loft and never leave it’s footprint. He would marvel at the city outside the windows, read my books and watch television. This was before the internet… I would tell him all about our modern world. He, in turn, would talk about his time and his assessment of our civilization. We had no money in those days, and entertainment was a two dollar six pack of Ballentine Ale and sitting on the windowsill watching the sun set over the skyline. We spent hours together in my imagination.
- Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
- A. Dishonesty
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. Well, of course I draw, but after spending the first third of my life as a bookish geek, I enjoy nature and individual sports such as Surfing and Skiing.
- Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
- A. Never thought about it. Starship captain, I guess.
- Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
- A. Honesty, humility, competence
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. Spaghetti and meatballs, of course.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
- A. Go, by the Replacements- never heard that one, I bet. It's let's say, passionate. I don't know. My daughter's six and she likes ABBA so yeah, me too. And I like "Fields of Gold" I know, corny. If you can find the 12" 45 of go, play it at max volume, then follow it with Eva Cassidy's cover of "Fields of Gold", well that's pretty much my life story right there.
On Books and Writing
- Q. Who are your favorite authors?
- A. Barbara Tuchman, William Manchester, David McCullough, John LeCarre, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dr. Seuss, Mo Willams, Maurice Sendak.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman. The Last Lion by William Manchester (his riveting bio of Churchill volumes one and two... he died before he could publish volume three. While he was sick, he turned out the short and excellent "A World Lit Only by Fire", a peek into the Middle Ages. Then there's his "Goodbye Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War". Oh, here I go. Just count the first, the Churchill books. Next would be "The Great Gatsby" by Fitzgerald. I dodged this one in high school. When my dad was convalescing after a recent illness, I wheeled him out under a shade tree on the hospital grounds and read to him. We read Huck Finn, bad mysteries, and this book. I was thrilled by the brilliant and precise use of language. Everything was just right, just perfect. And it was a fine experience, there in the shade, with the breeze, in the summer, with my dad.
- Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
- A. I’ve worn out my Steinberg books, but they are all pictures. I’d say all of the above.
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. Don’t get precious, revise and build.
- Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
- A. "I have a dog!"