Talk to DP Forum

Corey Brockman Merrill

Would you like to visit our classroom over Zoom?

February 13, 2021

Hello Mr. Pinkwater,

My name is Corey Merrill and I am a 3rd grade teacher in Somerville, Massachusetts.  Earlier this year I read The Hoboken Chicken Emergency to my class as a read aloud.  My class LOVED it, as did I.  It’s hilarious.

I have been remote teaching all year, and honestly we could really use some excitement.  Would you like to Zoom into our classroom for a short visit?  It could be a Q and A.  My kids would absolutely lose their minds with excitement, and so would I.  It would be a thrill to have you.

I hope to hear from you soon!

Thank you!

Corey Merrill 

Daniel replies:

Well, here's the thing. I started using a computer as a writing machine in 1981. I worked with my TRS80 and Scripsit (the word processor) all day, and didn't feel too much like playing with it at night. Email was useful, of course. I did it in DOS. A computer magazine sent me a computer that was supposed to be easy to set up so I could write an article about whether it was easy. It was. This computer came with Windows, which was sort of new at the time, and it had colors. However, I already owned a television, so the only time I looked at Windows was when I set the machine up so I could write about it. The next time I looked at Windows, was the first time I ever looked at a website...and it was this one! Anyway the primitive ancestor of this one. Webmaster Ed had sent me an email, which I read in DOS, white letters on a black background, asking me if it was alright if he created a Pinkwater website. I think he may have been 15 at the time. I said sure. Later he emailed me again to say the website was created, so I invoked Windows and had a look at it. It was already a good website, though I just assumed, having no basis for comparison. I found some other uses for the computer, but not many, and I went from using a cassette recorder to those big floppy disks made of vinyl and paper, and I had to install the drives myself, which meant opening up the case of the computer, which looked like a Hong Kong radio inside, with my feet on a slightly damp towel, to discourage static electricity, and a ground wire attaching me to a heating pipe by the ankle. Good times. What is Zoom?


Randal Hunting

video on Hoboken I think you might like

January 31, 2021

I think this is from just about the era you moved to Hoboken (from one who lived there also): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm3kDLCFCFU&fbclid=IwAR1zCTPV8-HQolZYnE_4vie2ceTpY8Vf-0otXbklRYImwKbQ38cTRXu0T7E

Daniel replies:

Depressing.


Lydia Hadfield

Do you ever get credit for inventing/prophesizing Crocs in Slave of Spiegel?

December 11, 2020

 

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

In your Five Novels, published in 1997, there are several mentions in “Slaves of Spiegel” of plastic perforated shoes. This alliterative, visionary image haunted me like bright blue Spiegelian garlic. When Crocs, the plastic perforated shoe, appeared on the market in 2002, I was certain Earth’s takeover by interstellar Fat Men was nigh. Who’s to say we are not currently in thrall?

Have you, sir, been given your due for this great and terrible vision? Fame, fortune or free footwear? It is not the vindication you deserve, but it is true nonetheless: I think about “Slaves of Spiegel” every single time I see a Croc or a Crocapair.

In fact, I was listening to a vapid podcast this morning when plastic perforated loafers were invoked. Corpulent thoughts entered my orbit. Find Daniel Pinkwater’s contact information, these thoughts said. Let him know you acknowledge his genius. Ask him if, urge him to, receive his due. Ordinarily, I’d bat these thoughts away with their rejoinders: You will not reach him. Mr. Pinkwater is happy, living his undoubtedly bohemian best life, and how dare you plant this penny of thought in his contented cake?! Yet today…this morning…I became soluble to those cognitive globules.

My will was not my own, it seemed, as I opened my laptop. I had become subservient to a louder, fatter, more righteous need…Scrawny, divorced, deeply unsuccessful ex-lunchlady no more…I have become Slave to Spiegel. Hail Pinkwater! Cassandra of the Croc! May you reign 100 years without degredation, like plastic perforated shoes.

Humbly submitted,

Lydia Hadfield

Daniel replies:

Well, you see, it's not generally known, not that I make a secret of it, that I usually write, or dictate, in a state of trance, while curled up on the top shelf in the hall closet. My wife, a trusted friend, or really anybody available who has time, sits on a folding chair in the open closet door with a clipboard and a yellow legal pad, and takes down what I say. (People are always interested in a writer's method or process, so I hope this will satisfy you and possibly some others.) Anyway, very often my trance narration includes prophecies, unusual cures for illnesses, (such as an all-gherkin diet for knee injuries), locations of lost treasures, and all manner of surprising things. I never remember what I said, and since I also never read my books, your news about shoes is news to me.


Lisa Forbes

Play and Status Quos

December 6, 2020

Hello Mr. Pinkwater,

Happy belated birthday! Hmmm, I’m not sure where to start. Your book, The Big Orange Splot, was my all-time favorite book as a child. I know you wrote it and drew it up quickly but it holds some of my core values, which I think is why I was so drawn to it as a child. But, to be honest, I had totally forgotten about the book for many years. Life has a way of pulling you away from your true self, childish self, and internal values. Because society wants you to fit their mold (to live on a “neat street”). That, or the book was just packed away in a box as I grew up. 🙂

I recently found my old childhood copy which is tattered from so many reads. As I was re-reading it now as an adult, I was blown away by the message (or the one I take from it). My whole life, I’ve always hated status quos or having to do something in a certain way just because that’s how everyone else does it. To me, that’s a huge message in your book – follow your passions, your values, your dreams no matter what all the other deadpans say. (This seems like a long-winded way to get to my question but I thought context was important – questions coming, I promise!)

Currently, I teach at a university in Colorado. My research tends to challenge various status quos in our culture. A project I am working on is challenging the traditional lecture-based approaches to teaching higher ed and instead using more of a playful pedagogy even with adults. (check out professorsatplay.org). In order to do this, instructors must bust outside of the long-standing status quo of higher education that tells you to be the hierarchical expert that spews knowledge and empty vessel students. I think to teach differently, you have to have courage like Mr. Plumbean did to stand out and be different. I think it’s blasphemy that to be playful and value play, especially in professional spaces, you have to have courage to be different. To be ready to be looked at sideways because it’s not neat – it’s not ‘what we’ve always done.’ 

So, phew…that was a lot to ask: from The Big Orange Splot, I get the sense that you dislike status quos. I’d love to hear your opinion about that. Also, what is your take on play and being playful in adulthood? Are you a playful fella? And what connection (if any) do you see between play and “professionalism” (as we tend to think of it – rigid professionalism in my opinion). 

Okay. Done now. Thanks for sharing your beautiful mind with us over these years!

Lisa Forbes

Daniel replies:

I imagine you'll encounter more resistance from the students than your colleagues. But what do I know? My own most important educational experience was a 3-year apprenticeship, from the beginning of which comes this quote: "I believe it is impossible to teach Art, so I will teach you me, and leave it up to you what to make of it."


Alejandra

The Big Orange Splot

December 3, 2020

Hello!,

My name is Alejandra Crismai, I live in Argentina and I work as an English teacher with 2nd formers in Bayard School.

We are about to read this book of yours and it would be amazing if we could have  news from you to share with the kids. It could be some words or a Google Meet . Sorry, I´m being too enthusiastic about the idea.

We would be very greatful if you could consider any kind of contact.

Reagards,

P.S Happy birthday!!

Ms. Alejandra Crismai

Daniel replies:

Hello 2nd formers! I hope you like my book, The Big Orange Splot. It is a true story....almost. Well, all the things that happen in the story are made-up, but the rest is true. I wrote that book when I was living away from my home for a short time, and I was staying on a "neat street." I had not brought my professional artist's drawing things with me, so I went to the pharmacy and bought some cheap markers, and a cheap drawing pad. I sent the story and the drawings to a publisher. I hoped they would make it into a book, but I expected they would ask me to draw the pictures again with better art supplies. Instead, they published the drawings I had sent, the ones with the cheap markers on cheap paper. More than a million copies have been sold! I have written other books, some illustrated with better markers.


Uriel Carpenter

Lizard Music

December 3, 2020

I’m pushing 50 now, and I have few fonder memories than picking your books out from the shelves at my public library, and reading them many times through while hidden away in my bedroom. So, listening to my wife read Lizard Music (probably my #1 book as a kid) to our 5 year old son, and hearing them both laugh, and getting their gold seal of approval with a request for more of your books, has made my life just about perfect. Thank you. Bless you. What a fortunate and miraculous world to have you in it.

With love,

Daniel replies:

Well, your telling me this hasn't done my life any harm perfection-wise.


The Van Sant Family

The Blue Moose

December 3, 2020

Hello!

The Blue Moose has been a favorite story of my husband’s since he was a little boy. When we had children we read it to them, and it quickly became a family favorite. The past few years, every December 1st, we have a “Blue Moose” dinner complete with clam chowder and real gingerbread (not cookies). We just finished our feast and our bellies are warm and full. Luckily my children and husband say more than “yup” when asked how they like the clam chowder! We chuckle at the story  and really enjoy the pictures too. Now on  to sit down with a cup of coffee. Thanks for writing a book that has become part of one of our family’s favorite traditions.

Much love,

The Van Sant family

Daniel replies:

Were you thinking of inviting me on December first next year?


Max

pickle preferences?

December 3, 2020

Hi Mister Pinkwater!

I am 16 years old, and have been a fan of yours for awhile now. I didn’t really know what to ask you, so I thought I might as well ask you about your pickle preferences. Do you like pickles? If so, how do ya like ’em? I like mine crunchy, crisp, and very sour. To my knowledge you can also get them sweet too, although I have never tried those ones in particular.

Apart from that, I don’t really know what else to ask, so I might as well say that you are probably my favorite author, and I’ve read webster’s english dictionary! Or should I say Clarence Yojimbo’s  japanese-english dictionary? Ha Ha. Ha ha ha. Jokes aside you really are one of my favorite authors, and you’re probably pretty cool. Also no, my name is not really Max Meteor, that’s just my stage name (I am in a glam-punk band with me and a few friends called Darth Walter and the Thunderkids)

Here is a poster I made for said band. I think I look pretty cool.

This is a band poster for said band. yeah, that's me. 

your friend-

Max Military boots Meteor

Daniel replies:

Half-sour, definitely half-sour, those are the crunchiest, if you can get them from a really good picklewright, or a deli supplied by one. The ones that come in a jar and are marketed as half-sour kosher dills are ok if you live in some wilderness. When they go all the way sour they lose some of their snap. Pickles are good for your body and eating them will raise your IQ. Also a knowledge and understanding of pickles is a mark of education and taste. I don't know if you're into classical studies and mythology, but the gods ate half-sour pickles on Olympus.


Julie

will you ever make tshirts?

October 17, 2020

Hello,

Hope all is well and this year is treating you ok.

Every year or so in time with my husband’s birthday I end up on your website looking for a Lizard Music tshirt to gift him.

Will you ever make/sell such a thing?  Or, should I just go ahead and make one for him?

Thanks,

Julie Wolffe

Daniel replies:

You make the t-shirt, I'll write the stories. Send us a picture. And happy birthday to your hub.


Tilda Jordan

new audiobooks

October 10, 2020

Dear Mr. pinkwater,

i have 2 questions.Question#1will you record THE ADVENTURS OF A DWReGESH gerl?Question#2 is there going to be a nother SNARKOUT BOYS book?

 

Daniel replies:

Reply #1 I have no plans to record ADVENTURES OF A DWERGISH GIRL. Someone would have to offer to pay me, plus since NPR stopped using work from me, and The Bob Edwards Show was dropped by satellite radio, my home recording studio has gradually returned to being a closet, and if I wanted to record anything I'd have to drag everything out and fire up the equipment, and remember how to work it. Someone would have to offer to pay me. Reply #2 Anything is possible.


Ralph (Bud) Harris

Have you ever read Michael Newton’s Journey of Souls or the sequel Destiny of Souls?

October 10, 2020

I’m a retired elementary school teacher. One of the most important books I’ve ever read was Lizard Music. The silent walk when Victor could remember everything down to the most minute detail was fascinating. But what I found most worthy of notice was the house of ideas, the notion of a collective consciousness, especially while reading Newton’s Destiny book. I would love to discuss this with him some time. I’m 74, taught in Boulder for 30 years, and I grew up in a restaurant. We could also talk food, even though I’m thin and can eat anything I want. Love anchovies!

Daniel replies:

Nope. I don't read stuff like that. Always puts me to sleep, and then I have these weird dreams in which I imagine I have lived before. Same thing used to happen if I ate a hamburger late at night.


Karen Greenbaum-Maya

Many many years

October 8, 2020

I started reading you in 1980, when I was in graduate school. This says too much about both of us. Of your many books, I particularly love Wingman, and The Muffin Fiend, and, The Last Guru. Which isn’t to say that I don’t also love Alan Mendelsohn, Boy from Mars, and Lizard Music, and The Neddiad. You keep finding much to love, and much to protest, and I love that.

Daniel replies:

I don't think that having gone to graduate school says too much about you. Many people have gone to graduate school and then gone on to lead useful lives. Besides, you like my books, so we can overlook mistakes you may have made in 1980.


Gary Keller

Sculpt Much?

September 29, 2020

Hello DP, wanted to say “Hi” and won’t ask you how to become a writer, because I don’t! Anyhow, considering your early days as a sculptor’s apprentice and abandoned that line of work, do you still do your own work for yard art? If not, I don’t blame you, it’s a pain! Thanks ~

Daniel replies:

One of the pieces of wisdom I was taught as an apprentice sculptor was "don't carve anything you can't lift." In later life I improved this to, "don't carve anything at all." 


Paul Levine

Robots?

September 26, 2020

Hi, Mr. Pinkwater! My name is Paul and I’m a student at NYU Tisch studying playwriting. I’m currently writing a play about my childhood (yikes!) and using The Big Orange Splot as inspiration. I grew up in a suburb really similar to Mr. Plumbean, and my mom used to read your book to me all the time. I read some of your interviews, and I think the book might be semi-autobiographical? The play I’m currently developing is also semi-autobiographical! It’s about my parents, and the main character starts to believe her parents are robots because everything is perfect and has to stay that way in the house. I was getting discouraged with my work, but I called my parents yesterday, and it turns out they’re actually about to paint the house. I feel like that’s a sign to keep going. I’m not super sure what I’m asking here, but I’ve been doing a ton of research and I thought it made the most sense to go right to the source! What do you think would have happened if that bird had never dropped that can of paint? Do you think Mr. Plumbean would have taken the initiative on his own to paint his dreams? Any thoughts about any of this would be super insightful. Thanks!

Daniel replies:

It's a story. It's fiction. There was never a bird carrying a can of orange paint in reality except by astonishing coincidence. Mr. Plumbean is a fictional character. It's impossible to speculate on what he might have done that isn't in the story because he has no existence outside the story, and in fact has no existence. I can't imagine what they are teaching you kids in school these days.


Max Wentworthstein Plumbean

When is adventures of a dwergish girl being released?

September 26, 2020

I preordered it on amazon months ago, but it says it doesn’t know when it will ship. I am very excited for this and have been waiting for escape to dwerg mountain for years now, so I’m happy it is finally happening in some form.

Daniel replies:

I'm told it's this month! September! I hope you are not disappointed when you finally read it. Thanks for ordering it.


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