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Crooked Cucumber and whatever. 
October 1999 

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10/26/99--from Marsha Angus: I've just begun to explore this fabulous site... My friend Fred Mitouer and I wrote a somewhat scathing letter to Ms. Tworkov @ Tricycle re the Yasutani article. Want to see a copy? [Yes yes yes I answered. And here is Marsha and Fred's letter. And it doesn't necessarily reflect the views of management.--DC]

Its great to be able to tune in so readily to news of old friends and the life of the dharma/sangha. Thanks so much, all best wishes. Michael Gelfond and Nancy Sheldon

Just finished reading Crooked Cucumber. Thank you for writing it.--David Turkington

10/19/99--from Carole Tonkinson in England:

Crooked Cucumber is published in England by Thorsons, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 07225238876 
10.99 pounds

It's available from (the harpercollins website). Also, our additional new site will be live in January. The book is also available on

10/19/99--An exchange with Robert Halpern about Suzuki-roshi or Suzuki Roshi and a poem from him as well.

10/18/99--From Robert Halpern: I hope you're all rested and enjoying your earthquake-free afternoon.  November is approaching so I thought you might want to mention on about Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness which some of your readers might want to order now from their favorite bookseller.  Also, to a lesser but significant extent, some of your readers might be interested in Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala which is due out the same time. It's a sequel to Rinpoche's Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior.

Thanks Bob. I put a notice about the new book of Suzuki's lectures on the site today. Go to Bibliography--Branching Streams for more.--DC

From Bill Alexander, a writer in New Jersey: We met in New York when you gave a talk at the ZCSF lecture series here and then the next day at your event at the Gotham Book Mart where I gave you a copy of my book Cool Water and you graciously signed a copy of Crooked Cucumber for me. I liked your book a lot! Clear and informative. I think, by the way, that that is what impressed me most about Crooked Cucumber. You avoided the biographers trap of "me me me me". No easy task.

Bill's almost finished with his next book (his 5th), to be called In Search of Silence. Check him out.--DC

10/16/99--A kind message from old friend and occasional contributor Andrew Main in Santa Fe.

10/16/99--A note from an shopper.

Hi David....I was so glad to see your e-mail address on the "Afterzen" review on amazon, so that I could write to you. I bought your book this past August on Suzuki and took it with me on vacation to Big Sur. After reading only a few pages, I had to stop. It was so terrific, that I wanted to read it slowly and savor every word. I read the book over the course of the next month, just a little bit at a time, using your glossary and trying to visualize the story...characters...everything. Your book is beautifully written! I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed it and really got into it. I cried at the end...I wanted to reach out and meet captured the essence of a man with your words. I've started reading your "Thank you..." book..and am enjoying it... Thank you again for a month of wonderful know....things like...what if's????........ I'm 52, a boomer like you....just saw the Dalai Lama in L.A. this week...thought about your book. Take care...peace, love, and all that...Claire

10/12/99--Here are a few readers' comments received recently.--DC

I just finished reading your book Crooked Cucumber. I was very moved by it and want to thank you for such an intimate portrayal of Suzuki Roshi. Your writing style has such a nice balance, you polished the mirror, stood aside and allowed Suzuki Roshi reflection to emerge. Baker was wrong, your practice shows up on the pages of this book, Master Suzuki would have been very moved, no doubt. I never met Suzuki Roshi, I visited the Page St. center in the early eighties for the Saturday morning meditation instruction. I had been sitting for a few years and was surprised when the monk who was instructing us smiled at me and said "There are worse places to hold on to than your upper back." I had been feeling blocked in that area from the time I started practicing. I felt so recognized by his gentile smile and words it really encouraged me at the time. I hope you and your family are well and thank you so much for such a wonderful book. Sincerely, Michael Welch

[I blush. Baker, of course, was just kidding. But there was an edge of truth to it for me, and perusing the literature and reflecting on my experience, for all of us.--DC]


A message from Carolyn Gimian, fellow Buddhist archivist.


You won't remember me, but I was a student at Tassajara and Zen Center in 1968-69. I just wanted to say that your book really captured the spirit of those years for me...... a wonderful and sensitive treatment of a complex event. I am happily married and living in Vancouver, B.C.-- Dan Chesluk

Yes I remember you fondly Dan. - DC


Tonight I finished reading your book, Crooked Cucumber. I wish to sincerely thank you for the experience.--DJF

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