Talk to DP Forum

Matt Casey

Has there been a moment or a dialogue within fiction, even your own work, that has helped you in difficult times?

February 5, 2020

Borgel and Yobgorgle are two of the most influential books of my childhood, teen years, and adult life. It made me happy to have found your site and realize simply that I am able to tell you this.

In the middle of Borgel (I believe just after meeting the fake great popsicle, but my book was lost in a recent move), there is one part where Melvin starts to feel a bit overwhelmed by the whole ordeal, and Borgel tells him that they can go home at any time, in just a few minutes. Almost unexpectedly relieved by this, Melvin is emboldened to continue the adventure.

Through years of moving, change, new uncomfortable experiences, the idea of ‘let’s keep exploring, you can turn back if you need to’ has helped me immensely.

Has there been a moment or a dialogue within fiction, even your own work, that has helped you in difficult times?

Daniel replies:

I'd need to think about this. I can't remember any moment or dialogue in fiction that has helped me...though I'm sure there have been many. I can't even remember any difficult times, not that there haven't been some, but for a long time I've been able to look at them as occasions to learn something. Here's an example: I remember making a mistake in training a horse, (I did not pay proper attention and show proper respect), so the horse pushed me down and stood on my leg, which was singular, and I remember thinking, "So, now I know what it feels like when a horse stands on your leg." When the horse let me get up, I did not apologize so much as slug her as hard as I could. The horse apparently thought that was ok, and we both understood I would have better manners dealing with her in the future. Being stood on by a horse could be regarded as a difficulty, but it was a lesson, and the start of a wonderful inter-species friendship. (My leg wasn't broken or anything, just stood upon.)

Rob Yam

Names; where do you get them?

January 31, 2020

Hi Mr. Pinkwater,

Every time I read one your books, I marvel at the masterful use of peculiar names. Where do you get them? Charles Dickens was adept at choosing names for his characters, and I’d done some reading on how he found them or created them. I mean, Osgood Sigerson, Hamish MacTavish. How do you do it?

Sincerely,

Rob Yam

Daniel replies:

Think about it. What is my name? It's my real name. And it's ridiculous. Every time I see it in print, to this day, and every time I have heard it spoken, it tends to make me snort and giggle. "And first prize in the school short story contest goes to....Cadet Daniel Manus Pinkwater." That was the first time I broke out laughing when I should have been gravely accepting praise for my first literary accomplishment. Does this answer your question?

Nick

Food, man

January 28, 2020

Dear Pinkwater,

I find myself living in Germany and on my own for the first time. I crave chili. Do you have a good recipe? Anything that might resemble the stuff from the bermuda Triangle chili Parlor? I require yummy chili that will satisfy my soul and not just combine beans and tomatoes and spice…

 

In solidarity,

…Nick

Daniel replies:

I suggest you locate the Mexican neighborhood in whatever city in Germany. Hint: Look for small hairless dogs, and people playing guitars.

Lori

Thank you for your book The Big Orange Splot

January 27, 2020

I discovered this beautiful little book about 10 years ago when was working in a children’s library. I immediately liked it and it’s theme of imagination, individualism and acceptance. I read it to my children often and later when I was a teachers assistant in a school. My daughter just asked me to read it to her tonight and we laughed because she’s turning 17 tomorrow:) I told her that would like to give a copy of this book to everyone I meet! Thank you Mr. Pinkwater.

Daniel replies:

17 is not too old to like that book. I am older than 17 and I still like it. Thanks for giving copies to everyone you meet. I hope you meet a lot of people.

Chris Propfe

Henry Kaiser Introduced Me To You

January 19, 2020

Just got introduced to your books through purchasing the Henry Kaiser CD, Devil In The Drain. I guess I’m a little late to the party. Lol. I’m a Kindergarten teacher, singer, songwriter, and guitarist. I actually put out a CD of original children’s music a few years back. Just reaching out to say hello, and looking forward to reading your books, owning some, and reading them to my class. Any suggestions for which book I should start with?

Thank you,

Chris Propfe

PS: I live in Poughkeepsie. Just saw you lived in the Hudson Valley too!

Daniel replies:

Nope. Start anywhere, and see where you're taken. PS: Hard to tell, just from a couple of posts, but I get the impression you are not depressed, even though you live in Poughkeepsie. Remarkable, if true.

James Q

Mount Analogue

January 8, 2020

It came up in my readings that Mount Analogue was mentioned in Lizard Music, a book I read and adored as a child but have not yet had the time to revisit. Would you be willing to comment on its inclusion in the book? I am intensely fascinated with the sowing of these sorts of seeds, the kinds of things that an adult reader may return to with a sort of knowing ignorance, the insistent familiarity of “I think a friend once told me.”

Daniel replies:

I don't think of them as seeds. I think of them as raisins, as in a rice pudding. And I like to include a few. In fact it's my raisin d'etre.

Steve Tupper

Fafner Flies

January 7, 2020

Mr. Pinkwater:

I first listened to Borgel on your podcast as I pushed or pulled my son around the neighborhood in a stroller or wagon, respectively. He began flying with me at 10, soloed at 14, became a private pilot at 16, flew his first airshow at 17, and is now heading for the airlines after college.

Becoming eligible for the airlines means showing up with 1,450 hours of flight time which, unless one wants to hemorrhage ludicrous (as opposed to merely obscene) amounts of money, means buying a two-seat trainer and flying it regularly. We recently bought just such an aircraft.

Not everyone names their aircraft, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Our 1977 Piper Tomahawk, N6205A, proudly carries the name Fafner.

Although there is no formal means of attaching a name to an aircraft, we did the next best thing. Upon landing at Oakland County (Michigan) International Airport (KPTK), we announced to the tower controller that the airplane had come to live at the airport and we bade the controller welcome “Fafner.”

Tower: “Okay, you’re going to have to explain that name.”

N2605A: “It comes from Daniel Pinkwater’s young-adult novel called ‘Borgel.’ ‘Fafner’ is the name of the family dog.”

Tower: “Awwwww . . .”

Fafner got an “awwwww” from the tower. So I guess that seals it as much as anything.

Thank you for providing a body of literature that feeds things like this father-son bond. As soon as Fafner’s altimeter comes back from the repair station, we’ll begin criss-crossing southeast Michigan training my son and building his hours toward the airlines. I’ve told my son that it might take a few extra days because the altimeter must go to the Dorbzeldge service center in the Old Country, but that’s okay because one wants such things done properly if one intends to navigate time, space, and the other.

You can follow Fafner’s exploits at flightaware.com/live/flight/N6205A.

Best regards,

Steve “Dogbag” Tupper

FOD, Dogbag, and Faffner

Faffner on the ramp at KRNP

Daniel replies:

Wait a second! You're using a Dorbzeldge altimeter? I assume this must be the improved Mark II with the lead weight and knotted rope. Very stylish to use such an instrument with a heavier-than-air craft. Happy landings and best wishes to you, your evidently tolerant son, and Fafner.

Mike Hammond

Where can I get a copy of Games of chance story from NPR a while ago?

January 4, 2020

Sir,

I remember you did a story about you took $20 to Coney Island and lost it before getting into the park.  I seem to remember your main take away was you learn the life lessons that you could be taken and how important that was.  I’ve been having a devil of a time trying to find a copy of the story or the audio file, can you help me?

Please and thank you!

Mike Hammond

Daniel replies:

Might be in the book Fish Whistle, might be in the book Chicago Days, Hoboken Nights, might be in the book Hoboken Fish and Chicago Whistle, or possibly not to be found anywhere. BTW it was Riverview Park in Chicago and not Coney Island.

Laura

representations in ‘The Big Orange Splot’

November 28, 2019

Dear Mr Pinkwater,

I have decided to contact you directly as there are limited resources analysing “The Big Orange Splot”, I am researching this book as part of an advanced english task for senior year, particularly examining the books representation of the human experiences, the struggle of adversity and self discovery. After hours of research I can not seem to understand the symbolic nature of the crescent moon and its tendency to change from gold to black, the crocodile which eventually is positioned upside down, the women painted onto the house, Mr Plumbean’s manner of sitting when being confronted by his neighbour and the circular void surrounding the seagull, resembling van Gogh’s Starry Night. I know it is a lot to ask but could you please clarify the meaning of these elements. It would be an absolute honour to receive a response and I hope you consider my request.

Thank you,

Laura principato.  

Daniel replies:

It is a strange coincidence that you ask these questions. I am just now up to approximately page 500 of my work-in-progress provisionally titled A READER'S GUIDE TO THE BIG ORANGE SPLOT. I anticipate that it will take another year to finish, and will run to about 600 pages. In this book I explain the symbolism, give an account of influences beginning with ancient Egypt, the socio-political aspects, and most interestingly, events in world history and the book's influence upon them since 1973. Naturally, time and space do not permit an attempt to answer your excellent questions in this forum. I suggest you ask the authorities at whatever school you attend to postpone your senior year, excuse you from attendance, and allow you to come back in, say, two years, (allowing time for my book to be published, and for you to digest its contents and complete your own paper). If I may recommend a course of action, doing physical work outdoors, such as on a farm, might be a good way to spend the time. Thank you for your interest in my humble artistic production.

Michael D. Toman

Another “Happy Birthday!” From A Reader, Conveyed Through Cyberspace?

November 17, 2019

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

Just wanted to take a moment to add my voice to your Birthday Chorus today.

“Thank You!” for many hours of reading delight!

Hope that all is well with you and yours thereabouts.

Sincerely,

Michael D. Toman

Retired Librarian and Long-Time Pinkwater Reader, Who as Far As He Knows hasn’t Turned into a Spambot Yet

 

Daniel replies:

I welcome good wishes from retired librarians and spambots both.

Richard Kirwin

A connection to my father

November 11, 2019

Good day,

A few month ago, my father lost his battle with cancer. Following his passing, my family (wife and children) took on the challenge of cleaning out his home.

One of the things we discovered were the Snarkout Boys books.

I didnt remember why, but i knew my dad and i had enjoyed these books. I remembered the covers. I remembered them being special.

They also made me think of a book that my son and i had stumbled upon and loved: The Hoboken Chicken Emergency.

Imagine my delight to discover that they were all written by the same person.

I have since read both Snarkouts to my kids, and we have begun to make or way through The Neddiad and its ghostly sequel.

Barely a day passes that i dont think how much i want to share this coincidence with my dad. Of course, i won’t have the chance to do that so instead i found your website so I could tell you.

Thank you for this unplanned, but remarkable little detail of my life. Thank you for these books and characters my children and i are discovering together. I see now, looking at your incredible body of work, that we have alot of reading to do.

Your friend,

Richard Kirwin on behalf of himself, his children and the fond memory of his father.

Daniel replies:

I've always been a talented writer, even when I was a kid in school. It came easy to me, and I've always enjoyed it, but I have to admit I never gave a lot of thought to the possibility that the stuff I was making might be important to some readers. I mean, I liked my readers, and wanted them to enjoy my work, but if I thought about it at all, I thought reading my books was light entertainment, a diversion, a way to kill a few hours. There's nothing wrong with that. But now, after some 50 years and more than 100 books, I have all this evidence that books of mine have been treasured, become family artifacts. I'm glad to know this now. Thank you. And I'm sort of glad I didn't know it years ago.

Douglas Brown

Blue Moose

October 31, 2019

Dear Mr. Pinkwater:

One evening I hosted a dinner party for some colleagues of my husband from the law school where he teaches.  Upon hearing me explain the reasons why, after many years of operation, I had decided to sell my small restaurant in rural Pennsylvania, one guest looked at his wife, winked, and together they simultaneously said, “Blue Moose!”  I had no idea to what they were referring, but a couple of weeks later I received your book as a thank-you gift for the dinner. I must say, the similarities between my interactions with the rural townspeople and Mr. Breton’s exchanges with the villagers is uncanny! I was curious about your inspiration for the book, and I wondered if you had ever worked in a similar sort of eatery.

Sincerely,

Douglas Brown

Daniel replies:

No one has ever asked this question. Let's see if I can answer it in a few words. My wife and I arrived at a rented cabin on Moosehead Lake for a vacation. We brought with us a bag of brown rice and some spices. We were going to live on local produce and fish we caught, never considering that we might not catch any. The only restaurant anywhere near was one of those quaint Ye Olde places, looking a little deserted. We stepped inside, and met....Mr.Breton! The real live one! His actual name was...Breton! And...he was a marvelous, magical chef. He had grown up in the town, and left to live in California, inherited the nice old Victorian house, and decided to move back and open his restaurant there. He hadn't counted on the local population who kept asking for french fries, and when winter came he remembered why he left in the first place. We ate all our meals at his restaurant, never saw another customer, and enjoyed Mr. Breton's company as much as the food. A year or two later, he was back in California, and I had written the book.

James Lerch

Snarkout Boys helped direct my life!

October 31, 2019

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

As I sit here listening to you read Avacado of Death for what has to be the twentieth time feel I need to express to you my gratitude for your wonderful stories.

The Avacado of Death really did help drive much of my early adulthood and even contributes greatly to my life today as a 41 year old man. I first read this book in the mid 80’s when I checked it out of my elementary school library. Everything from sneaking out to have adventures at night to my fascination with the “cities under cities” come directly from this book.

I forgot the name of this book for years but had vivid memories of Avacado pie and underground cities. After lots of hunting a couple years ago I rediscovered this gem. I actually managed to purchase a first print new old stock copy of the book, which holds a place of prominence in my library.

I now have both Avacado of Death and Baconburg Horror from Audible and I have listened to both at least a few times… yes even at 41 years old I still enjoy these imaginative stories!

Sorry this was so long winded but I just had to fully thank you!

James Lerch

Daniel replies:

What an honor to have readers like you! Please don't buy anything from Audible...I've never received a single cent of royalties from them. You can download audio of many of my books for free, (or a voluntary contribution which will be passed along to some worthy cause), right here on this website.

Lance

Thanks

October 28, 2019

Mr. Pinkwater,

I started reading your books in 1977 with Lizard Music.  It planted in me a sense of adventure that has been with me all my life.  I owe much to Lizard Music, as well as Fat Men from Space, The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, The Last Guru, and Yobgorgle, Mystery Monster of Lake Ontario.  These works of yours helped shape me in positive ways as a child, and had no small part in influencing my adult life.  Through these wonderful books I found the joy of reading, and my life has been enriched ever since.

I’m truly thankful that your work exists in the world.  Your impact to my life, and I’m sure thousands of others, is immeasurable.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Best Regards,

Lance

Daniel replies:

I wasn't going for impacting anybody's life. All I thought I was doing was writing stories I would like to read. I think it's likely that you're a creative reader, and the works of some other genius would have had a similar effect, and helped you shape your taste and judgement...but I'm glad it was my stuff you chose.

Elissa Foresta

You are my favorite. I wish i could write like you. Love your words forever

October 20, 2019

Daniel replies:

Something better than writing like me would be writing like you. Yourself. Write the way you talk. People make a big deal about style, but really that's all it is. You are automatically my favorite.

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