August 9, 1999
Post #903 – 19990809
hoping to recieve another response, i write to you again, two years after my original letter. i think to myself, what can i tell this man who has surely heard everything there is to be heard about his own genius books?
well, nothing quite as interesting as one of your books circumnavigating the globe, but something. i was talking to my aunt, who has never heard of you as a writer but says she knows you from NPR. we had agreed to trade books once in a while, to read, since we admire each others taste in such things as books and the like. she gave me the baghavad gita, i gave her alan mendelsohn. flipping through it, she agreed to read it though she was obviously in question of the apparent childlike writing at first glance. she looks at me and says “when did you read this?” i say “fifth grade, seventh grade, and last month.” (ill be a sophomore in high school when the fall comes) “surely i got more from that book than i could from any ancient oriental text,” i say. “if you say so,” she says.
the time passed and we read. since then she has picked up several other books of yours, and abandoned her search for enlightenment in the baghavad gita and other such works. teaching lit courses at indiana university, she claims to have recommended you to students and has been thanking me since. i often give people your books and say “it may look like a childrens book, but its really not.” i even got a lecture from my teacher after pulling off an oral report on “lizard music” to a freshman honors english class that was reading stienbeck and harper lee at the time. lately though, i feel im taking liberties by announcing that your books have higher meaning. in books such as alan mendelsohn, boy from mars, and borgel, do you write them more for the young not-so-average reader, or more for the older man/woman, who may or may not have had a disenchanting childhood and can “relate” to the storys of the children in your books? i was also wondering where you got your basic approach on handling people and influencing others. it seems, through your books, articles, and your replys on this particular mailing list, that you always know just the right thing to say, blending enough seriousness with enough humor to provoke some thought and to earn a laugh. *how do you do it*?
oh and one more question: “how do you get your ideas” (im only kidding with that one).
well, mr pinkwater, thank you for your time in reading this, ill be pleased to see a reply, if you find more time. at any rate, it has been real.
They are kids' books. Kids read them. They are written for kids to read, and published by children's publishers. Adults may read them if they like--I don't care. As far as containing a message, let alone wisdom, or any kind of subtext, I deny that they do...or if they do, it's by accident, and not my fault. Most probably you're experiencing the effect of any well-executed work of art, that is, it has an inner organization that may concentrate your mind, which is probably why it gives pleasure. Thus concentrated, you begin to see how things relate, and attribute meaning and intent the work of art may not have.