Talk to DP Forum

Ali Kramen

If I Only Have One Hour in Hoboken

April 8, 2022

Private message, please. Visiting NYC from Montana, and would like to visit Hoboken  (because of “Chicago Days Hoboken Nights”). Pressed for time, would you please tell me what tourist-type thing you’d do with only one hour in Hoboken? If it’s get bagels with you, I’ll buy. Party would include my 17-year-old twins, me,  and our Uber driver.  Thursday, April 7th, 2022 after 4 pm, Friday the 8th after 3 pm, or Saturday the 9th at the crack of dawn. PS There’s  no Captcha to prove I’m not a Spambot. Never mind, there is, and I ain’t.

Daniel replies:

I haven't lived in Hoboken since 1977 and I haven't even set foot in Hoboken since maybe 1981. I've looked at videos, and except for having seen them I wouldn't recognize much of the town. If I was in the NY metro area with only an hour to spend, I'd spend it in Manhattan at the Frick Collection, it's an art museum, probably the single best thing in the whole northeast.


Daniel Amberg

How tall are you? (for a small effigy I am making)

April 8, 2022

Hello Mr. Pinkwater,

In brief, I am creating small wood effigies of my favorite authors. I would like them to be appropriately sized relative to one another. Toward this end, how tall are you? (Thus far it will just be you and David Sedaris.)

Now to the gushing, fawning part: I am 52 years old and grew up reading your novels. I raised three children on them as well. (Only one of the children wound up being a miscreant like his dad.) My absolute favorite might be Young Adult Novel. I’ve read and re-read Alan Mendelson, Yobgorgle and Lizard Music more times than I can possibly remember. You are a treasure, and I am deeply grateful for the absurdity, humor and subversion you wove into the fabric of my being! Thank you.

–Dan Scott Amberg, Chandler Arizona

Daniel replies:

Nice try. I know perfectly well that "effigies" won't work unless they're proportional. Not that I believe in this sort of thing, but just in case, I'm doing nothing that will help you get into my bank account through the use of some Afro/Caribbean traditional techniques.


Diane Keedy Pisko

Please bring back Wuggie

March 22, 2022

I love Wuggie.  My adult son loves Wuggie.  I think the next generation and all the generations moving forward need to know Wuggie.  Please please bring Wuggie back!!!!  The world needs him!! Very Sincerely,

Wuggie Lover

Daniel replies:

You imagine professional authors like me have any control or say about what gets published, republished, brought back. It's not so. Decisions like that are left to people in the publishing industry who are mostly paid very poorly, and mostly can't get jobs in better industries which pay more because they aren't worth it. There are copies of Wuggie Norple floating around. You can probably find them on Ebay and in other places. Shouldn't cost much. So, really it doesn't need bringing back. I'm glad you like the book!


Sjoekje Sasbone

Searching for “Lizard Music”

February 24, 2022

Please pass this on to Mr. Pinkwater:

     In 1980, I read your book when I was 8 yrs old at the Artesia Library in CA. I enjoyed it so much, I checked it out from the library a few times. But as I got older, I forgot the title & “Lizard People” always wrongly came to mind.   

     Technology got better & I still couldn’t find it. “Lizard Music” would come up, your name as the author sounded highly familiar, but the cover that popped up (a kid on rocks w/ lizards) didn’t look familiar. Nevertheless, your story lived rent free in my mind for decades.      

     Yesterday, I messaged the Artesia Library & although they don’t keep a copy of our old library cards, they said they could search for it if I gave them descriptives. This is what I recalled & messaged them: “It was about this boy who found his way to a pond or lake, & a lizard somehow convinced him to swim under & come out the other side into an alternate dimension w/ a plastic bag of clothes. I want to say the lizard in our world was able to speak. I’m not sure. Everyone was a lizard in this world, shopping, working, etc., like humans. He would go back a few times where the story would unfold. Maybe it was a red cover?” They led me back to “Lizard Music,” except they provided me with a YouTube narrating Ch. 1 & replied, “I just listened to the YouTube you sent me. That’s was great because I was able to hear that chapter. It was missing when he swam underwater to get to the other city. Perhaps that’s the floating island? I was trying to see if the wording in the story was familiar. It is an unsupervised boy. I’m sure the hippie references were over my head….. What was very familiar was the Salisbury steak reference, which is interesting.” But I listened to each chapter, found the red cover w/ the lizards, & this was it! Truth be told, I became emotional when it all came together. 

     When I looked you up, I noticed that your birthday is Nov. 15th, the same birthday as my father, who passed in 2016, 1 month shy of 92 yrs old. Long story longer, thanks for writing a fun, weird book that spawned my lifelong love for hidden worlds & left an impression for nearly 42 years. I’ll be 50 on July 15th.

     Finally, I want to acknowledge the librarian who not only helped me, but checked out the book for herself to read. I hope you enjoy knowing all of this & the your literary impact. 

Daniel replies:

Thanks for relating your mental adventures with Lizard Music. Books have a life of their own, something I never thought about when I was writing that one and others.  Also readers give books a specific life of their own...it's not just the author who does the creative part. Thanks for being such a good reader.


Philip Fairbanks

Mainly just thanks so much…

January 28, 2022

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

From the time I was in elementary school you became one of my favorite authors. Especially Lizard Music. There was something about that book that just opened the possibilities of other worlds hidden below the surface that people don’t see only because they aren’t looking. I used to regularly check that book out of my rural hometown library as a kid. In my 20s I checked it out a few times again. Found it interesting that (despite the shoddy marker job scratching out names) it was easy to tell that apparently I always chose August to read your book. Lol perhaps the proximity to Sirius amplifies the Lizard Music haha.

Anyway, just wanted to say that you were an incredible influence on me. I am a writer myself now, maybe not much of one, but passable to date. Mostly entertainment reporting, music reviews, news (esp. related to nat.sec corruption and the like) but I really feel some media I ingested as a child, definitely Lizard Music but also Pete and Pete helped germinate the seed of wonder and doubt about the world around me that led me to where I am today.

 

As I said, most of my work is non-fiction but I still love children’s and YA lit as much as ever and occasionally reread them hear as I’m nearing 40 this November. (Oh, always thought it was cool, our birthdays are a couple days apart). Anyway, for years I’ve wanted to drop a line but finally decided to try to track down your contact information.

 

Hope you’re doing well, that the covid/pandemic is bearable. I’m actually planning on releasing my first kid’s book (a sort of scifi story about a girl with very guarded, protective scientist parents who live on a rocket ship with their adventurous to a fault daughter). Anyway, I don’t want to waste too much of your time but had to send a word of thanks. I’ve literally spent hours reading your works off and on for phew 3 decades now lol?

 

Anyway, as I said, hope you’re doing well and thanks for the memories. I’m sure I’m just one of thousands, maybe millions of kids who, like me felt the same way but (also like me) were shy or didn’t know how to contact you. Hope you receive this letter in good health and spirits. Best of 2022!

Your dear fan since about the late 80s/early 90s. If you’re ever interested in doing an interview, would be honored, but if you don’t have the time or inclination completely understand as well.

 

Best of 2022!

Philip Fairbanks

Daniel replies:

Um....wow!


Dylan

Thank You

December 29, 2021

2003. Third grade. Nine years old. My class is instructed by our teacher to find a book to read for a book report. Problem is, I don’t like reading.

Enough time passes and everyone has a book except for me. My teacher is frustrated with my indecisiveness and pulls a random book from the shelf. I don’t like reading but whatever, there are lizards playing the saxophone on the front so that’s pretty cool.

What unfolds over the next week molded my taste in books. I was glued to it. I still remember little bits of the story, and I don’t have many memories of anything around that age. I don’t know what you call it, and I didn’t know how to describe it then, but I remember asking my teacher for more “weird books.” I say weird with the upmost respect, I was tired of hearing stories that stayed too close to reality.

At this point I think its safe to say you laid the ground work for my love for science fiction. You took nine year old me to another world. Something that I only thought was possible with video games at that time. One day when I have my own kids I will be picking up a copy to read them. Thank you for giving me a happy memory and stimulating my childhood imagination by sharing a piece of your own. Best wishes!

Daniel replies:

Well, that message put a smile on my face. Of course, I had no idea writing that book would do anyone any good. I was just amusing myself, and telling a story. That may be why you were able to enjoy it. A suggestion, look up some of the books I wrote decades after...I like to think I learned something about authoring. Try The Neddiad, for example, and there are some others.


Jackie Hertel

No question

November 23, 2021

Mr. Pinkwater,

I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful book Tooth-Gnasher Superflash. It was one of my favorite books growing up. My father read it to my siblings and me. My father has always been a larger man and his voice would go so high-pitched every time the five little Popsnorkles shouted, and we would all laugh. I was able to find a copy this week of the Tooth-Gnasher Superflash and watch my father read it to my two year old daughter. What joy you have brought to my family over the last 30 years. Thank you.

Jackie Hertel

 

Daniel replies:

You thank ME? Imagine how good it feels for a writer to receive a message like that? I thank YOU.


Tony Homer

How about that ratatouille diet?

November 16, 2021

I’ve been trying to lose weight and I remembered listening to the ratatouille diet segment on NPR, but I couldn’t remember what show it was on or how long ago it was.  I had imagined it was a few years ago.  I searched on NPR and was shocked to discover it was actually 25 years ago!  Funny how recall works.

 

www.npr.org/1996/05/02/1043293/never-fail-diet

www.npr.org/1997/03/04/1040787/pinkwater-diet

 

I sent a support request to npr.org because the audio files are missing and I’d like to listen to them again.

 

My question for you is, do you think the ratatouille diet would work for someone trying to lose weight today?  My plan is to use Soylent powder (soylent.com/collections/all-powder) for most of my calories.  Unfortunately, Soylent alone, leaves me with satiety problems.  I was thinking about what to do about the satiety problems and the ratatouille diet popped into my head!  I think ratatouille could solve the satiety problems for me.  What do you think?

Daniel replies:

I don't give, nor am I qualified to give, health or diet advice. Anybody can make ratatouille, there are recipes everywhere and you don't really need one. It makes sense to me that some people may lose weight if a vegetable stew is a major and consistent part of their diet. I don't know anything about the powder you mention, but I am suspicious of all products like that. Good luck with a healthy diet, and weight loss.


Kathleen Black

Not a question

November 16, 2021

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  I hope that you are having a wonderful day and that you’re receiving some of the same enjoyment that you give to others through your books.  –KB

Daniel replies:

Thank you. Yes, I am happy, including birthday.


Wendy Bolender

Wuggie Norple

November 16, 2021

Thank you so much for the Wuggie Norple story.  I began reading it to my children in 1985, and today continued reading it to my 3 year old grandson.   He loves it just as much as we all have.  Thank you so much and many blessings.

Wendy

Daniel replies:

There was an editor looking at it, and dithering whether to publish it, and Tomie DePaola said, "It's perfectly ridiculous, which means it's perfect, so publish it." It got published, and he did the wonderful art. So glad you and your offspring like it.


Carissa

The Real Babatunji’s?

October 21, 2021

Hi Mr. Pinkwater – we have read Adventures of a Dwergish Girl approximately five times out loud.  We are in Kingston this week, and my kids and I are wondering where The Real Babatunji’s is?  If it doesn’t exist, where is your favorite pizza in Kingston?  We will avoid all imitations of hot dogs. Thank you!  Carissa

Daniel replies:

Sorry, I haven't been in Kingston for a few years, and can't suggest a pizzera with certainty, but if I were in town I'd check La Florentina. Have fun!


Ben Duff

ABC Piano

September 29, 2021

Dear Daniel,

I can no longer access ABC Piano on my internet radio. Can you please tell me if it has gone off air? I hope not. I love it. Best wishes. Ben

Daniel replies:

Sorry, I can't help you with this. These internet stations disappear, and reappear. I have no idea how it all works, but thanks for asking and for your interest.


Shelagh M Goulis

Lizard Music still plays in my mind

September 26, 2021

Mr. Pinkwater,

I’ve been meaning to write you for 40 years…

As a ten year old, I loved Lizard Music.  As a 28 year old, I had the image of the print block lizard tattooed on my ankle.  As a 30 year elementary/middle school school teacher, I’ve shared your book countless times. And now, as a 51 year old, I’ve reread the book and shared it with a friend in the Netherlands.  Discussing it with a (an?) European of similar age but with cultural differences has been an amazing experience.  Dutch television also went off the air in the 1970’s!  Walter Cronkite was known internationally.  Alas, pizza delivery was not a thing in Holland back then.

So, this isn’t really a question, but just a comment:  thank you so much for this book.  Now, more than ever, I relate to Victor and his fear of pod people taking over.

Neeble, neeble!

With deep respect,

Shelagh

Daniel replies:

It makes my head spin to read that a book of mine was meaningful to you. Of course, I understand that a work of art isn't finished, doesn't exist, until someone receives it and makes something of it, so the important part of the creative thing is yours. So it is for me to thank you for making my book matter.


Jenny Smith

A Note of Gratitude

September 22, 2021

Dear Mr. Pinkwater, 

 

In the spring of 2020, we were all set to take a Borgel inspired road trip that summer. Alas, we had to cancel that plan and ended up sheltered in our home with two disappointed boys, aged 9 & 11.  They sat wistfully looking at photos of our Neddiad adventure from the previous summer, when we took a cross-country trip by train to Chicago and the Grand Canyon. 

 

My husband and I knew that we needed to do something. We posed a family challenge to come up with a way to fill our memory books with adventures without leaving home. After brainstorming and lots of discussion, the weekly family theme was born. Each week we take turns drawing a strip of paper out of a bucket that is filled to the brim with every idea we could come up with. We have made some wonderful memories with the likes of Jules Verne, Indiana Jones, pirates, pioneers, magical nannies and more. 

 

Time flew by and, before we knew it, school reopened and we were back out into the world. Except, none of us was willing to say goodbye to our bucket of themes. We unanimously agreed that the themes are here to stay. We made a few adjustments, like extending them to two weeks so that we can accommodate distractions, like homework, without missing out on doing a fun activity. 

 

Today, I am writing to you because my 12 year old drew the Pinkwater theme for the next two weeks. It was followed by a deluge of ideas and excitement. Your books are a staple in our household culture. They have inspired vacations and family traditions. This morning as I walked my 10 year old to school, all he could talk about was ideas for the theme ranging from a Noodlekugel inspired tea, recreating the Laurel and Hardy movie festival in The Snarkout Boys and making pizza with Spiegelian blue garlic. 

 

While the kids were at school, I drew a picture of Henrietta on our chalkboard which displays the current theme. Our theme bookshelf, which rotates in content depending on the current theme, is overflowing with your books. I am excited for two weeks with Henrietta,  Blueberry Park, the blue moose, Fafner, clam chowder with gingerbread & coffee, the Snark Theater, Mr. Plumbean, napoleons, Melvin the shaman, Neddie, doughnuts, hot buttered potatoes, Iggy, Uncle Borgel, Wuggie Norple, the great popsicle, and pizza with spiegelian blue garlic. Thank you for creating such wonderful characters and stories.

Daniel replies:

Obviously, your family gets more fun out of stuff I've written than I had writing it. I am not jealous, that was my intention, or would have been if I had an intention. I do feel I should remark that a Borgel-inspired road trip would have to involve travel in time space and the other, which might be a bit beyond the capacities of the average family, even one that can read, so circumstances may have worked in your favor.


Mark French

Thanks for Publishing Advice

September 21, 2021

Daniel,

Some time back, we conversed by email as I asked about how to get a children’s book published.  You gave me some valuable, though not especially encouraging advice.  I eventually found a different route to becoming an author and now have an ongoing relationship with Springer, the academic publisher.  My fourth book is now being typeset and should be out in January.  This one is on acoustic guitar design.  I’m hoping that Jeff Goldblum will portray me in the movie version.

My sincerest thanks for taking time to talk with me back then.  It really did help.

Mark

Daniel replies:

What? I gave you advice and it was any good? This feels like a prank, or maybe a setup. I have demonstrated time and again that I don't know anything about publishing. Also, I have no money to invest or loan. In case your post is legitimate, congratulations and good luck with the guitar book.



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