Talk to DP Forum

Kevin

April 29, 2016

My parents used to own nearly every issue of Help! Magazine. Next time I go back to Albuquerque, I'll look for them. If they still have any issues featuring you, I'll scan them and email them to you. No promises, as it's been about 40 years since I last read them (I remember something of a cartoon sequence about "Rottenville" and that's about it).

Daniel replies:

Your parents own every issue of Help! magazine. Your parents. And you think it's probable those magazines are in boxes or something similar in Albuquerque. OK. I'm sure visitors to this website would like to see scans.

The muffin fiend

April 29, 2016

What is the recipe for borgelnuskies? Also, why did you become a writer? Are any of your works based off of real life people? Also, I love your books!!! Especially Borgel.

Daniel replies:

There is a federal law against sharing the recipe for borgelnuskies in public, transporting, sending or transmitting it across state lines, drawing it in the dirt with a stick and then rubbing it out, or singing it as lyrics to a song. But there is no law against knowing it, or against making, serving or eating borgelnuskies. It is a legal oddity. I forget why I became a writer--something about being no good at everything else I tried. All my works are based on real-life people. Also, the events depicted in my works are based on real-life happenings.

Stephen Krashen

April 27, 2016

This is Steve Krashen, prof emeritus from USC, grew up in Chicago area in 1940's and 50's. A close friend of mine at the University of Illinois, Howard Taylor Dixon, always talked about his friend Daniel Pinkwater. I lost contact with Howard years ago, and wonder if Mr. Pinkwater remembers him & knows where he might be, 50 years later. Howard was a VERY UNUSUAL person, a big influence on me. (PS my research areas include literacy, pleasure reading, libraries. I'm the author of The Power of Reading. I have deep respect and admiration for Daniel Pinkwater's work. And I once had lunch with Stan Lee.)

Daniel replies:

Howard is known as Leonard now, (much as I was known as Manus when you knew Howard at U of Ill. We are both first-name-changers.) He lives in the Pacific Northwest these days, and has a presence on the web. He is interested in Mathematics and Art, among other things. I once took a ride in a Volkwagen with Harvey Kurtzman, Terry Gilliam and Robert Crumb. No lunch.

Bryson Scout Tad

April 27, 2016

I had the pleasure of sharing eight of your books with participants in our Colorado ADX prison facility. Dancing Larry is a huge hit here. The trouble we have is getting duplicates of the same title which meets our security measures. We would like permiion to photocopy some of the picture book titles onto a particular paper that is resistant to giving paper cuts, and wonder if you would give us your blessing. That might be a great start when we ak for legal permission from your publishers. Again, we have some pretty tough men who have been in the system longer than out who can benefit from Larry. Hope this is a doable request. P.S. One of our reading group regulars wants to know if you were ever incarcerated.

Daniel replies:

Yes, you have my permission to photocopy, and no, I was never incarcerated. (I think permission from the author supersedes permission from the publisher--besides, what is the publisher going to do, have me locked up?)

Random sixth grader

April 27, 2016

So, i have to do project in sixth grade where i write a three to four page essay about any author of my choice. Then we have to present just two minutes worth of facts about the author, and answer some questions. So:
1)what is the most important fact about you, in your opinion?
2)what should i say if some annoying fifth grader asks a question I don't know the answer to?
3)can I say that you were on the start to a glorious career in piano playing before a tragic guacamole incident ended that, and put the muffin fiend in my works cited list? Will my teacher get mad at me?
4)afterward we have to bring in some snack related to our author. What is your favorite food?

Daniel replies:

1) I am not sure there are any facts about me, important or otherwise. I haven't noticed this before, but is it possible I have become, or am becoming, fictional? I wouldn't mind being a fictional character. Possibly I would then be able to meet other fictional characters I have admired for so long. 2) You can say that in the course of doing your research you were required to sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement, so there are certain questions you are legally prevented from answering. Then, if you are asked with whom you signed this agreement, you can say that is one of the questions you are not allowed to answer. You see how this can work. 3) Sure, you can say that. Do you want to say it? I will bet that it doesn't go over as funny when you present your remarks as it strikes you now. 4) Well, it's not a matter of what is my favorite as what is appropriate and not too much trouble. I'd say muffins are the obvious choice. And you can share the story that while I love muffins deeply, I discovered that I have a wheat allergy, and now I can only eat gluten-free muffins, which are horrible, so I do not eat them. And if you like you can put this forth as a fact as alluded to in section 1), that is, I am a muffin-loving person who can never eat muffins, and yet I am not sad, have not gone crazy, or become a criminal. Such is my strength of character.

Spencer

April 27, 2016

Mr. Pinkwater,

At the risk of sounding extremely sentimental, I would like to thank you for writing Lizard Music. The book has become a melancholic reminder of a time when I read purely for enjoyment.

For me, the memory of the book springs from some surreal fountain: in my imagination, Lizard Music is a place where staying up late at night watching pulpy television is something to be appreciated and cherished; it is a place where the odd and uncomfortable corners of society are merely quirky reminders of all our beautiful differences; it is a place, I must admit, that I have not found anywhere since…

I'm not sure where the story came from, and I'm dead sure I don't want to know, but I hope you still occasionally feel the same magic you once allowed me to appreciate.

A thousand thanks and pardons,
Spencer

Daniel replies:

You touch on the main reason I've enjoyed writing for children so much...in the phrase "read purely for enjoyment." I feel that kids read purely, and for enjoyment, and that makes the writing so much fun. Why the book is a melancholic reminder, or a melancholic anything, must have to do with your personal peculiarities. The "magic" as you call it, in this book and others similar, (some written by me), is on tap, full strength, any time you wish to partake.

Les Norman

April 25, 2016

Dear Daniel,
When I was 11, I checked out a book I'd never heard of before…"Lizard Music". I've always been an avid reader, and through my years as a professional athlete (baseball-MLB/Olympics) I've read many works by many different authors. "Lizard Music" is still my favorite! I am in the process of reading it with my own 11 year old son each night!! Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world…You have created great memories for me from a childhood that didn't have many…and now I can share & create them with my own son! My geeky bio is on my website, lesnorman.com. Be blessed…and thank you again!

Daniel replies:

Lizard Music was the first long fiction piece I did, and after writing it, I did 99 more books of various kinds, most of which were good, and I learned things, but not one of which was as good as Lizard Music! Then, the 100th book, The Neddiad. I mention this because I've described the feeling I had when starting to work on it as like an athlete waking up in the morning knowing he's ready to pitch a perfect game. After you and your son finish with Lizard Music, maybe you'd like to give The Neddiad a try. Let me know if you like it.

Alan Jacobs

April 25, 2016

I noticed it's been a while since you added photos to your gallery. Hoping for something from your HELP! magazine days…please?

Daniel replies:

There weren't many HELP! magazine days--I was only in a couple of issues. Then the guy who'd hired me, none other than Terry Gilliam, who would later be a Python, called to tell me the magazine was folding and it was my fault. If anyone knows were images can be found--I don't imagine anyone owns them.

Louis Bruneau

April 12, 2016

I just needed to say that your books shaped me into the rotund good-hearted mortal I am today (as well as give me a deeper appreciation of film). That is all.

Daniel replies:

I don't understand. They shaped you? Did your parents make a tiny bassinet out of my books? Were you made to sleep under a cover of books? Did you use them as weights for exercise?

Robin

April 6, 2016

Mr. Pinkwater,

I was just informed that April is national poetry month. Who are some of your favorite poets and poems?

Daniel replies:

I don't really go for the "name your favorites" thing, but for purposes of this forum I will mention Don Marquis, who wrote the archy and mehitabel poems.