Talk to DP Forum

Katherine

May 22, 2016

Have you ever had any pets? Also, what is your favorite color?

Daniel replies:

I have had plenty of pets. Most of them have been dogs, cats or horses. I still have pets. My favorite color is onion.

Bill Schwabenland

May 22, 2016

I recall listening to one of your segments on NPR in which you described engaging in a lightsaber duel at the shopping mall. Do you recall which episode that was on your website? I wanted to share it with a friend.

Daniel replies:

I think I did 600 or 700 of those short commentaries on NPR. I've never been good at archiving and organizing my work. If the piece isn't in Fish Whistle, or Chicago Days, Hoboken Nights, or Hoboken Fish and Chicago Whistle, (which is the two collections combined), it's probably sort of lost. Probably it wasn't as good as you remember anyway.

Matthew Kile

May 22, 2016

Dear Mr. Pinkwater. At 36 years of age, I have read "Lizard Music" at least once a year since my 3rd grade teacher read it aloud to our class some 28 years ago. I daresay it is tied with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as my favorite work of fiction. When I told my girlfriend how much this book meant to me, she sat down and read it cover to cover, absolutely enthralled. One thing has bothered me for nearly three decades however. Who do you suppose removed the "Modern Lizard Quintet Plays Mozart" record album cover from the front window of the abandoned music store in Hogsboro? I always doubted it was the Chicken Man, AKA Charles Swan. Do you suppose it was some other agent of the lizards, perhaps Shane Ferguson? Thank you in advance for your answer, and thank you for this superb piece of literary work which will remain with me forever.

Daniel replies:

The thing is, the person who would know the answer to that question no longer exists. I used to be that person, but I'm unable to help with this. It is barely possible that I unwittingly addressed the matter in some more recent work of fiction--but I wouldn't know. Have you looked into any of my novels written in this century?

Kevin Cheek

May 22, 2016

Yes, my parents are the ones who (may) have the copies of Help!. I was very lucky to have a weird childhood. My parents read to me from The Evergreen Review and Help! Magazine along with Winnie the Pooh and the Pogo Papers. I was lucky because they never assumed I wasn't smart enough or educated or old enough to get the supposedly grown-up writing they loved. We shared interests and activities, and I got to do things, like learn how to build a camper, travel the country, hike to the top of Mt. Rushmore, read Ferlinghetti and Brautigan, etc.

I hope I am providing my kids a sufficiently weird childhood that when they grow older, they will be as proud of me as I am of my parents. To this end, among other things, I have read them a lot of Pinkwater.

Daniel replies:

I don't understand your use of the word, "weird," in this post. Obviously, from your brief account, there was nothing in the least weird about your childhood. It seems to have been a perfectly normal, maybe more enriched than usual, sort of childhood. I can only guess that you wrote, "weird," because influenced by many people who apply that word to things too lively for their comfort.

Nathan Kozak

May 18, 2016

Daniel, who or what is your inspiration for writing book?

Daniel replies:

Please don't take this to mean that I do not love to write, and love my readers, and want to make life better for all humans by producing art. The inspiration for writing, the thing that has to be possible or I won't bother to do it, is the chance of getting paid. Learning to write was hard, and took a long time, and finally I got to be good enough for it to be my work. Everybody should be paid for working.

Philip Dallmayr

May 18, 2016

Hi Mr Pinkwater. I have been reading Borgel with my 6th grade class for more years than I can remember. Unfortunately, my copies have fallen apart and it seems Borgel is out of print. I plan on looking at sources for used copies. My class always asks me when you are going to write another amazing Borgel/Melvin time tourist book. Are there plans for a sequel/prequel? It would be awesome! Keep up the fine work!

Daniel replies:

Borgel is included in the collection 4 FANTASTIC NOVELS, an Aladdin paperback, which is available here and there, such as here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-Fantastic-Novels-by-Daniel-M-Pinkwater-2000-Paperback-/272224776948?hash=item3f61dc72f4:g:pGIAAOSwuMFUb5yB and you get three other books in the deal. I have no plans to write any more books until I find a publisher, or a publisher finds me.

Cindy Prescott

May 14, 2016

We just read a biography blurb about you and are going to read some of your books. We are a class of fourth graders. We were interested in why you think your dogs can read.

Cindy Prescott, teacher
Crestwood Elementary, Covington, WA

Daniel replies:

Hello. I don't know what biography blurb you may have read, or what it said about dogs reading, but here is the fact: All dogs can be taught to read. You can try this for yourself if 1.) you have a dog, and 2.) if the dog knows some commands, such as "sit," "down," and similar. The dog needs to know the command well, and do it every time, or nearly every time. Let's say we will use the command "sit." Write the word "SIT" nice and large on a 3x5 card. Have some teensy treats on hand. Tell the dog, "sit." When he sits, give him a teensy treat, "good dog!" Now, show him the card, say the command, "sit!" give him a teensy treat. Do this a couple of times. Now, show him the card, but do not say the command. If he sits, give him treat, praise him. If not, say the command, give treat. After a very few tries, he will sit when you show him the "sit" card without you having to say anything. He is now reading. You can teach him as many commands as you like. Later, he will read the newspaper, and check books out of the library....or maybe not.

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.