Talk to DP Forum

Sabine Lambert

What happened to Lulu?

August 30, 2019

    I have just reread with pleasure Uncle Boris in the Yukon, and wondered what happened with Lulu, and what other dogs you have had since 2001.

Daniel replies:

Lulu completed her assignment on this planet after a good long life, never a day of illness, never unhappy for a minute, her time spent with people and animals who loved her. Within a week, we met Kee, who had a rough early life, but spent 10 years with us, and just as good as Lulu's life. Kee finally finished up, and is gone, and we are getting used to Phoebe, also known as Peaches, who is a puppy, and very sweet. We also lost Maxine, a Labrador who was raised from puppyhood by Lulu, and went on to be Kee's best friend. Dogs don't live as long as humans, so if you like them, you're going to know a number of them. We are sad when one goes, but we make sure the time they have is good. Thank you for asking.

J

bushman lives: wow

August 13, 2019

Dear Daniel,

I just finished Bushman Lives!.  I liked the ending.  That book is dynamite.  The terrible art person way to say it would be the book is “successful”, I think.  I’ve been reading your books since I was small and Lizard Music had  a particular effect on my development.  So it is with great pleasure and joy that I encountered Bushman Lives!.

I am also studying the Diamond Sutra right now, and I have begun to notice that working through a lot of your books as a kid and youth prepared me on a certain level for that kind of study.  Thanks for writing a whole lot of great books that also serve as fine if somewhat abstract volumes of moral and artistic instruction. 

Best

J

Daniel replies:

I sort of like Bushman Lives myself. Thanks for mentioning it. It didn't receive a lot of attention. The Diamond Sutra was always a little more than I was able to handle. I like the Heart Sutra, the one that goes gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.

Steven

Do you realize that you are one of the greatest storytellers and authors of all time?

August 13, 2019

Dearest Mr. Pinkwater,
I’m contacting you to express the gratitude that I have towards you and your wife for the positive impact and perception changing influence you’ve had on my life. I’m 47 years old and I because reading your books when I was about 10 years old. I believe my first was the Hoboken Chicken Emergency, but it’s hard to recall exactly, because I immediately started to read anything and everything I could find at my local library in downtown Decatur, Georgia that was written by you.
Lizard Music, Yobgorgle, The Last Guru, and Alan Mendelssohn the Boy from Mars were my favorites then, and still, to this day. I even stress eating anchovies, calamari, and more exotic foods as a child because of your books.
As an adult, The Afterlife Diet impressed me and inspired me further in my career as a chef. I just wanted to thank you and your wife personally for all that you have contributed to education for young minds all over the world.
I apologize if my writing is rambling or not particularly cohesive. I’m not very good with technology or letter writing.
Anyway, I send much love and respect to you.

Your fan for life,
Steven Miller

Daniel replies:

It is OK. You are a chef. You are not a word guy. You have read and enjoyed some books, but I'm guessing not a vast number of books, not all the books, and possibly you didn't sign up for many literature courses. It is OK for you to think I am one of the greatest storytellers and authors of all time. You like the stuff I write, and that is good enough for me. I like fine cooking, but I don't really know a lot about it. We do our best, try to include love in the stuff we make, always know there's room for improvement, and some people get what we do. I'll settle for being the best storyteller and author I can be. How about you, Chef?

Frank

ABC Piano Internet Radio

August 13, 2019

 Mr. Pinkwater,

 I have a question for you regarding an Internet radio station that was called ABC Piano. Classical piano music was the only thing that was played on this station. However, it seems to have gone off the air within the last year or so. When I used to listen to it regularly, there was a host with the name of Daniel Pinkwater (or at least I believe that’s what the name was). Was that you? If so, what happened to that Internet radio station? I can’t seem to find it anywhere online anymore. In the past, I would listen to it using the TuneIn app. Then the station disappeared from that platform, and I was able to find it on a website called radionomy.com. It disappeared from that website, too, and now I can’t find it anywhere. Is there a way to still listen to it here in the United States? Or has the plug been permanently pulled? I hope not because it was such a great source of solo classical piano music. I hope you can shed some light on this mystery. Thanks so much for your time!

Sincerely,

Frank 

Daniel replies:

Yes that was me. I was primarily the English language announcer on Radio Mozart, which also seems to have disappeared. I can't say exactly what happened, but when I volunteered to record announcements on Radio Mozart it was all Mozart all the time, and Nicolas Goyet, the producer and proprietor, made brilliant selections of performances. I think he made some kind of deal for bandwidth with that Radionomy outfit you mention, I don't know for sure, but after a year or two really horrible, loud and aggressive advertisements turned up on the station, anyway for USA listeners...didn't fit with the music at all. Even though I admired Nicolas's curatorship, my listening migrated to stations like Venice Classic Radio, and thus I'm not even sure when Radio Mozart, ABC Piano, and other stations of Nicolas and Radionomy stopped, and by this time I'd lost touch with Nicolas. He did a wonderful job for quite a while.

Ardmagar

Use of names

August 8, 2019

Would you mind if I used the name Indiana zephyr for my Instagram art account? It has such a nice ring to it and I think a wonderful tribute, but if it’s some copyright infringement issue I understand. Thank you for all the books you have written,

-C

Daniel replies:

I think I probably stole that name myself. Help yourself, feel free.

salami

Behemoth Message

August 8, 2019

 I would like to say many things and now I will write them. I love your books so much that I can’t handle it, and every time I think about one of your books I get this itch that makes me want to dance and sometimes cry from overfilling feelings and read the book again. I think that you’re the best writer on the planet except Kurt Vonnegut, because when I read his books- well, I can’t even really explain it. 

I have this suspicion that you know something that most grown-up people don’t have any idea exists. As a kid, I think you know exactly what is is to be one, and every other writer is too focused on what they think kids will like instead of what they want to write about. I think you know more than that though. I think the kids who love what you’ve written have read your books for a reason. I think we should form a secret coalition to act fast and quickly make the world more human- or however you want to explain it, more turtle-ish. More lovely and wise. 

When I was really little, I started reading the neddiad. I really believe that book is exactly how I feel on the inside; I’m not sure how you could ever feel like a story about a group of people doing things you’ve never done can resonate with you so heavily, but it sure does. There’s something about that book, everything about that book, that makes me so happy, makes me feel safe, like almost nothing bad can happen to me. Next year I’m going to a new school. Change is the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered, except once, being chased by a goose. Every time I get really scared and start getting all jumpy and nervous, I think about how Neddie wasn’t afraid to leave everything he’d ever known because he was going to be like Dart-Onion. Neddie is my Dart-Onion. 

Anyway, all of my friends have been forced to read five novels, and every time I eat chili I think of Samuel Klugarsh. I wish I could join the wild dada ducks, or start my own dada group and perform masterpieces at lunch. I wish I could snark out and loudly talk about James Dean with Rat. My dream is to visit the La Brea tar pits see the pussycat aliens with Professor Tag, and visit the island of the lizards, all three of which could conceivably be attained. I want to live in a Daniel Pinkwater book. Your alternate universes are my utopia. This is why I choose to get lost in them on a regular basis. 

Finally, I think the reason that life hasn’t affected me as badly as it could have, are your books. They make me feel a kind of happy that’s been hard for me to feel lately, and make me want to write or make pictures when I am upset or unmotivated. In conclusion, you are fantastic, thank you for everything. 

Daniel replies:

First, I have to thank you for all the nice compliments. Then, I have to tell you that if you hadn't found my stuff you would have found some other brilliant writer who'd have had the same effect...because--get ready, here comes the wisdom--because you read creatively. Someone with a less bright intellect could read all the same stuff of mine that you've read, and possibly enjoy it, but it wouldn't mean so much to that person, because not a creative reader, not investing as much in the stories. Put another way, you give me a lot of credit for creating all this art, but the art isn't finished, and doesn't have any meaning, until the reader/viewer/recipient comes along, and what you get out is proportionate to what you put in. Well, actually, that's putting it the same way, but you get the idea. Kurt Vonnegut! He and I were both guests at some kind of conference and we wound up having supper together. I was pretty excited, since he was my favorite writer...and he knew who I was! He didn't know me from my books, but I had written him a fan letter, and he told me he had it pinned up over his desk. My letter! Pinned up over his desk! Then he ordered drinks, different kinds of drinks every time, and one for me. I do not drink. However, I was not going to let Uncle Kurt think I was a sissy. So I got drunk. Then I was supposed to give a speech. Which I did. It lasted maybe three minutes. The people attending the conference looked like they wanted to kill me. Vonnegut said it was the best speech he ever heard. Then he went to play pinball, and I went to bed. I never saw him again. But I switched my desk around so I would not be writing facing a wall. I will not be pinning your email anywhere, and you will not be having supper with me, also I advise you to stay away from alcohol.

Robert Frazier

My son created a trifold for school

August 6, 2019

My son created a really cool trifold celebrating the Big Orange Splot.  I’d like to share it with you. He worked for very hard on the project.  Thnx. Robert

Daniel replies:

My goodness! It's wonderful!

Michelle

Do you remember Stuart stern from day camp when you were 6 or 7

August 6, 2019

Mr Pinkwater

I just received a copy of your book Lizard Music and it was awesome. My dad sent it to me.

I asked how he knew you and he said you were his friend at daycsmp in Evanston IL. 

I just thought you’d like to know that he remembers you after all these years and you must’ve made a difference in his life because he kept that book all these years from the Evanston Library.

Thank you for your time 

Michelle Hawker (Stern)

Daniel replies:

Wait a minute! It's a library book? Stuart Stern from daycamp took out a library book from the Evanston Public Library and never returned it? Has it to this day, or did until he gave it to his daughter? I never thought when I was playing baseball in public parks, and drinking not-very-cold milk out of those little miniature cartons, with Stuart Stern that he would wind up keeping a library book. Obviously, I did not write the book when I was 6 or 7, so Stuart must have come across it later, when he was older, and knew better, and recognized my name, and then he kept it?!?!? I think someone owes the Evanston Public Library nine dollars and ninety-five cents.

Clint C. Holtz

Thank You!

August 6, 2019

Daniel,

Last night I was doing
the usual routine of reading 3-4 books to my son and he was having a hard time
picking out some to read. I expect this was more of a stalling tactic than
anything else, so being the bed time enforcer I am I told him I was picking books
tonight. As I was skimming the book shelf and came across The Big Orange Splot. This was the exact copy my mother had read to
me literally thousands of time. The pages ruffled from water marks left by a
glass of water I had spilled on it 30 years ago. The wear and miles that had been
put on this children’s book brought a smile to my face. It was a wonderful
moment having the opportunity to take my son on a walk down memory lane via Mr.
Plumbean’s “neat street”. After I finished the book and tucked in my 3 year old
I felt the need to look you up and if nothing more to say thank you. I plan to
send my weathered and memory filled copy to you to have signed by you soon.
Thanks again for the masterpiece that provided me with many memories with my
mother and now my son.


Clint 

Daniel replies:

I knew when I started making books that they were precious to me, at least for the time I worked on them...when they were finished they tended to get pushed aside by new projects...but it never really crossed my mind that some of the books would become precious to some people. It's very neat! Very! And it's very kind of you to share with me.

Greg Hainline

Perpetuating the Pinkwater Panoply

August 1, 2019

Mr. Pinkwater,


I was recently reflecting on the most formative people in my life, and I was tickled to realize how much of an impact your books had on me, both in childhood and now as an adult. As I reach a time in my life when I begin to see children of my in own on the horizon, I know I have to share your books with them. The question is- how? While I do a great deal of reading on my digital devices that is not how I want to introduce your books to children (though I suppose maybe that’s just how life goes). Do you see any new printings in your future? Or do I need to go out and snatch up every old Pinkwater tome I can lay my hands on? Now that I write it down, the prospect of doing so doesn’t seem so terrible.


Thank you so much for giving me such delightful problems to have. My personal problem aside, I hope your books are preserved so that many generations yet to come may enjoy them. Or be subjected to them in totalitarian classrooms of the future.

Daniel replies:

Yes, there are new printings in the future, and there are some books still in print that you can find, also there are a great many used copies available online at Ebay, Amazon, and specialist booksellers like Cattermole 21st Century Books. Having no social life, I've been able to write a lot of books, so many that practically nobody has them all. All through my career, I've encountered kids, mostly, who went around with lists in their pockets, tracking down titles that they wished to acquire. Makes sort of a nice hobby, don't you think?

Jonathan Wertheim

Taking Daniel Pinkwater to lunch

July 28, 2019

My two friends and I have been fans of yours for donkey’s years, as well as  human years. Having come into possession of a lunch’s worth of fortune, we were hoping to visit pay a debt of gratitude to you by spending that fortune in your company. We certainly don’t want to impose, but we’ll be in your neighborhood on 7/26 and 7/28. Would you do us the honor? (Unrelated  side note – I think you know Ethan Iverson? I had the pleasure of getting to know him slightly when I worked as a jazz critic several years ago. A small world…)

In any event, thank you for your amazing books. They got me through some hard years.

(Not for public consumption – this message, not the lunch.) 

Daniel replies:

Very kind of you indeed, but I can't engage in social activities this July. I'd have to decline an invitation from Ethan Iverson too, though you will agree he is a lovely fellow.

Sam

Are you a kabbalist?

July 28, 2019

I’ve noticed a lot of references to Kabbalah in your work and I was wondering if you practice Kabbala and if so in what ways?  I’m trying to learn about it, mainly because I keep seeing references to Yggdrasil in all my favorite works of fiction, but every source I find is very confusing…  if you do study Kabbala would you recommend any books or websites about it?  

Thanks much!  

Daniel replies:

I barely know what Kabbalah is. However, I tend to think Yggdrasil has no connection with it. I recommend learning woodworking or watercolor painting, something you can do with your hands.

Nick

Do the Normies become Weird?

July 17, 2019

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

Most of the adults in your books are kind of strange. Endearing but strange. All of the young people, or at least the main protagonists always seem fairly normal. Is this because they are unreliable narrators or is this because they are, in fact, fairly normal? Do they all stay normal as they grow up or do they become strange when they become adults? Were all of the adults seemingly normal as kids? Are adults just strange???? Am I STRANGE????????? The little boy who owned Henrietta became someone who I used to think was odd, owning a radio station and falling for a librarian. But now that I am older, I think he is living not only a normal, but in many ways, desirable life. So I am all confused. Are the adults weird or are the kids weird or are you weird or am I weird? Also, do you like sardines? I like them a lot, but when I tell people this, they usually stop talking to me.

Sincerely,

….Nick

Daniel replies:

If you are not doing so already, in the not-too-distant future, you will teach a course at a well-reputed college or university, and the course description in the college catalog will be the very post you have written and sent in to this website, word for word. It will be a popular course, and later you will write a book, receive tenure, make a brilliant marriage, and own a lovely house in a quiet neighborhood.

Cohen

Some questions

July 8, 2019

1) is it possible to find meaning in the high school experience? It seems to me that the ratio of enjoyable friends to unpleasant teachers and experiences is far too low to be worth much. Even in young adult novel they seem to find something in their friends. 

2) I’ve never been a creative writer. I write a mean five paragraph essay, a skill that has served me well, but once it comes to any story that means anything to me, I’m about as good as a fish in the Sahara. How do people do it? I think all the paintings and sculptures I make are self portraits in a way, and I don’t know how to write a story that doesn’t tell people about me. I admire the characters in your books for being aggressively themselves. How do you keep your characters separate from you?

3) I just read young adults. Is it a cautionary tale or the opposite? 

Daniel replies:

1) Obviously, it is possible to find meaning in what you choose to call the high school experience. You can find meaning in any kind of experience, and even lack of meaning can be meaningful. There are wonderful high schools where students prepare for even more magnificent education, and chart a course to lifelong happiness. If you do not attend such a high school you might want to ask your parents why they did not find out where one is, and why they did not prepare themselves to be eligible to live in that community and save their child from years of frustration and misery. My own observation and experience is that life improves markedly as soon as one leaves high school. Also, not to worry if you learned absolutely nothing in high school--that happens to a great many people, and they find it's easy to make up the deficit. 2) This seems to be an ambitious and difficult question, but actually it is easy for me to answer. I don't know how people do it. I do not know how I myself do it. I know the sort of thing I like to read, and since I am reading what I write as I write it, it tends to turn into something I like reading...and people not being so very different, if I like it, some other people will probably like it too. As to keeping art from being self referential, you don't have to, you can be as self-referential as you like, but if you feel the author or creator ought to be separate from that which is created, practice and experience, doing art, and just being, growing, and observing should take care of that. 3) It is a dada story. I think one of the characters says that.

Jenny Smith

An update and more thanks

June 28, 2019

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

I wrote to you not long ago to give my thanks and to tell you about our grand family adventure inspired by The Neddiad. I wanted to tell you that we had a truly memorable time that we will cherish. We saw beautiful sights as we traveled along and the boys got a thrill about the eating in the dining car every time. We listened to you narrate some of their favorite Neddiad moments. We read books and played games. Conversations and jokes were tossed around as we chugged along.

We absolutely loved Chicago. The boys had their first Chicago dogs at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. We looked at each other with a shared grin when we rode the bus down Clark Street toward the Lincoln Park Zoo with our new Cubs hats on our heads, each reveling in our favorite Snarkout Boys moment. We had our very first taste of deep dish pizza which surpassed our expectations. My favorite moment was walking through the Art Institute with my eight year old son where we discovered a shared love for impressionists. We had an insightful and honest conversation about Monet versus Renoir and what we love about each painting. 

Back aboard the train, we settled back into a now familiar routine. The scenery changed and we were yearning for cowboys. We found them near the Grand Canyon and enjoyed a Wild West Show. The Grand Canyon is indescribable. We just stood, stared, breathed and experienced it. We all loved everything about it.

Now, we are in Los Angeles and almost home. We go home feeling full with the a sense of accomplishment. We are already talking about where we go next time. I’m already planning on introducing them to Uncle Borgel and Alan Mendelsohn. I feel a road trip with gardens and popsicles in our future. 

Thank you again for the laughs. But mostly for characters that we relate to and care about. Your writing inspires our spirit of adventure and encourages everyone to live in a world with limitless imagination. 

All the very best wishes,

Jenny

Daniel replies:

This illustrates what I have come to believe and always say, to the point of being completely boring....it's creative readers who make books important, writers tend do be dopes who sit and type, and the most you can hope for is that someone like me doesn't do anything to spoil the experience. Your family trip sounds like a masterpiece of living. If more people know how to do what you did this would be like a perfect world. I would like you to consider adopting me, especially if you are planning more travel.

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