Permission to read for teaching online
March 19, 2020
Good afternoon Mr. Pink water.
Our school district is scrambling like many others to find/create supplemental materials for our students while closed for the Coronavirus. Many of us are reading some of our favorite books to our students via the school website/Facebook/YouTube.
My K-5 music students are hoping to have their annual program once school is back in session…the theme is “Imagination”. Growing up your book, The Big Orange Splot, was one of my favorites and still is. I would like permission to record a reading of the book for my students.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Endy and Locust Elementary Schools, Stanley County Schools, NC
Dear Ms Hardy -- Yes you may use THE BIG ORANGE SPLOT or any other book of mine in any way at all, as long as no admission is charged, copies are not made and distributed, and nothing is sold for money. Also, at any time, and particularly during the virus emergency your pupils are welcome to download free audio books at http://www.pinkwater.com/audiobooks/
Greetings from CoronaVirus California
March 17, 2020
Well, as one of the first survivors of this particular plague, I just wanted to tell you what got me through it, and my intention in telling you is that I want you to get through it.
I like you, you see, and I would like it if you lived.
I was able to Ward it off with a combination of ( raw ) garlic toast, sunlight, actually eating vegetables and the ever-popular chicken soup.
I am a person who prefers to subsist on pretzel rods and Laughing Cow Cheese, so let me tell you being forced to eat my vegetables, and raw garlic, and to go into sunlight of all things! These are desperate measures I would not recommend except in times of plague and I do heartily recommend them to you my beloved Mister pink water
I’m sorry you had to come to Eeyore’s book so often in the 1980s they were really hoping you would meet me and my father was absolutely insensible to my pleas and he would take me about 40 miles away. He had his troubles and I have to say you helped me in a lot of them in particular the phrase “some people are just pre-civilized” was very helpful in regard to that man. I love you, take care of yourself, stay afloat. Yours, Jackie Jack Cash
We're ahead of you on the veggies and chicken soup and sunshine business. Not only is it our response to various pandemics as they wander through from time to time, it is the reason our immune systems are getting all the help we can give them, and we are quite robust for our ages, except mentally, of course. Terribly nice of you to share your common-sense program with us, and through this website to other intelligent life forms.
I draw a blank trying to remember Eeyore's book store, but I hope I conducted myself in a dignified and correct manner with regard to whatever it is that you refer to in the last paragraph.
March 2, 2020
My family discovered your books about 20 years ago, when my grandmother, a library volunteer, gave us a box of discarded library books, and one of them was Borgel. I’ve always had mixed feelings about this: I can’t applaud the library’s decision, but it did put us in touch with your writing, which we’ve enjoyed ever since.
What I wanted to tell you was how I discovered Bear’s Picture. This was at the library of a big prestigious art school that will remain nameless, with big impressive buildings and mostly lousy teachers. Everyone was expected to draw exactly the same way, and at the same skill level. I was not up to the level of the “A” students, and the teachers did not want to bother with me. So I got fed up and quit. I’m teaching myself to draw now (though I’m still fed up), and trying to make sense of things.
Enough about me. I just wanted to say that it was ironic to find Bear’s Picture at that school, and that I found it when I probably needed it most. I’m glad you wrote it.
For that matter, I’m glad you wrote all your other books.
So, thank you.
P.S. One last thing: you should know that the first sentence of The Education of Robert Nifkin is one of the best first sentences ever written.
I think one can learn how to make art, but it seems hardly possible that it can be taught, anyway in school setting. It's too personal a thing, and it's too much to hope that a bunch of people can march into a classroom and find a teacher there who has something to say to each, or any, of them. Probably getting chased out of the prestigious art school was the best thing that could have happened to you. That, and finding my book.
Please, Will We Hear More from Mrs. Noodklekugel and Company?
February 27, 2020
My son and I adore the Mrs. Noodklekugel series and wonder if we might hear more from these wonderful characters. Thanks very much!
No, I think that's all. People think authors can just write whatever they want, and it gets published. That may be true for some superstar types, but the likes of me have to get a publisher to agree. Publishers are companies, usually part of some corporation, and as such they are fairly dumb. I hardly pay attention, and may be remembering wrong, but I think the word on the Noodlekugel books was, "We don't want any more, but we would be happy to look at something just as good." So I just forgot about doing any more business with them. Notwithstanding, I keep getting letters from some department at the publisher congratulating me on the second, third, fourth, fifth printing of one or another of the Noodlekugels. So the books seem to be selling, but within the company one department doesn't know what the other one is doing. This is very common to my experience. Years ago, I had a book with another publisher and for a couple of years the head of their sales department told me over and over, "What a good book, such a shame it is not selling at all." The whole time I knew from reports from another department that it was their best-selling title throughout the company. Keep this email for the day when your son asks you to explain capitalism and why we don't have it any more.
I am writing some other books! When you hear of one, grab a copy before it goes out of print.
February 19, 2020
I’ve formed a council of immortal beings (me, my sister, and our weird friend who loves Beethoven) to adopt a boy, after the wild dada ducks. His name is Jacob and he has extremely long white blond hair. We feel that he is the greatest and most pure human being to currently walk the earth. We have decided that all of his friends and most of the people in Jacob’s life don’t love and support him as they should, so we would like our boy to be more appreciated. This week he’s going to get delivered to him: a singing valentine, a slice of peanut butter cake, and as a token of our love, cards will be distributed in the school bathrooms proclaiming his greatness. We hope this doesn’t end in us getting pelted in soggy grape nuts.
I can practically guarantee you will be pelted with soggy grapenuts. Consider it a rite of passage, and evidence that you failed to grasp the warning in my book.
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?
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.)
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?
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?
January 28, 2020
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…
I suggest you locate the Mexican neighborhood in whatever city in Germany. Hint: Look for small hairless dogs, and people playing guitars.
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.
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.
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?
PS: I live in Poughkeepsie. Just saw you lived in the Hudson Valley too!
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.
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.”
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.
January 7, 2020
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.
Steve “Dogbag” Tupper
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.
Where can I get a copy of Games of chance story from NPR a while ago?
January 4, 2020
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!
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.
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.
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.
Michael D. Toman
Retired Librarian and Long-Time Pinkwater Reader, Who as Far As He Knows hasn’t Turned into a Spambot Yet
I welcome good wishes from retired librarians and spambots both.