Ryan Retherford

March 24, 2020

An unexpected connection

Hello Mr. Pinkwater,

What a Pleasure to have found this website! Such a treasure trove.  Thank you for making so much content available, I’m having a ball!

I discovered Lizard music at around 10 years old and remember it as not only my first “chapter book” but my standalone favorite for that period of my life.  You are solely responsible for the ensuing love of reading I developed and I thank you for that.

I’m 42 now and sharing it with my soon-to-be 8 year old son.  He has exclaimed several times that he “loves it!” and always wants me to read more before I tell him it’s time for bed.  I am so pleased that he likes it.  Another memory that I will hold dear for which I am indebted to you.

A few nights ago, as we were reading, I was stunned to find an obscure yet familiar-to-me literary reference; Rene Daumal’s Mount Analogue.  My mind was blown.  What was that title doing in this YA novel?!  Whenever I last read Lizard Music all those years ago, I would’ve read right past it without a second thought. Now however it elicited in me the same warm and magically mysterious sensation that your writing did.  I read Daumal’s book just a few years ago and I remember thinking that it reminded me of Lizard Music!

At 18, a dignified and sagely wheelchair- bound woman that I’d befriended introduced me to Gurdjieff and his wonderfully esoteric and convoluted complexities.  I devoured much of his work as well as many of his students’.  He was a jumping off point for me spiritually and philosophically.  I ventured out from there but never forgot him and his influence.  He seems to be enjoying a bit of a renaissance in some circles these days and I have encountered him via a number of unexpected avenues, yours being the most recent.

So then, I wonder, what if any connection do you have?  I read somewhere here about your involvement with a cult and I pondered if it was somehow affiliated with a 4th way school ( I myself was briefly a member of one in my early twenties).  Which then makes me curious, should you be willing to share,  about your spiritual journey in general.  What paths and detours did you take and where do you find yourself now?  My fondness for you and your writing hopes to find that we are simpatico in some way, that we’ve travelled some of the same trails.  I certainly don’t want to pry but, if you can, do tell! 🙂


In the meantime, thank you so much for all the work you’ve created!  I’m excited to explore more of it with my son.

Kindest regards,



Daniel replies:

Thanks for taking time to tell me of your experience with Lizard Music...such a kick for a book of mine to be appreciated by a second generation. In addition to the Mount Analogue reference, should you and your son choose to explore more of my books, you'll find all kinds of facts mixed in. It's as much for my own amusement as anything else...yours is the perfect case...I like to imagine a formerly young reader returning to a book enjoyed as a child and saying something like, "Wait a minute! Mount Analogue? Now I know why that title seemed strangely familiar just the other year!" Or Lord Buckley, or TIbetan fortune-telling using egg creams, or the science of knot-tying...there are all kinds of raisins in the rice pudding. As to naming any organization, cults, recognized religions, secret societies, and the like, I prefer to refrain from doing so. Some of these, while populated with well-intentioned seekers after truth are also the hangouts of pickpockets, frauds, abusers, and poseurs, and readers who make the mistake of thinking I'm smart may take my mentioning as an endorsement. You know the old saying, attributed to the man himself "A little Gurdjieff goes a long way."