August 8, 2019

Behemoth Message

 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.