Talk to DP Forum


Post #674 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

Dear Daniel Pinkwater,

You are definatly my favorite author and “Borgel” is definatly my favorite book. i originally had a soft cover version but it fell apart after about the 20th reading so i was forced to special order a hard cover copy. (i live in alaska. you can’t get anything up here.) i plan on passing it down to my children and thier children. i push your books on people like a Jehovah’s Witness. “Go on, read it!” I say. “The man’s a genius, I tell you!” i have two cats and an iguana. I own a copy of Lizard Music too. I had been a little apprehensive at contacting you for a while because i thought i might find out that you are dead or something. Thanks to you i also have a fixation on Hoboken and I’m looking for a cheap apartment there in my spare time. my mom calls it The Promised Land. well, there were a million things i wanted to talk about but now that i’m here i can’t think of a one.


p.s. how do you pronounce Fafner?

Daniel replies:

It's not true you can't get anything in Alaska. You can get walrus, and frostbite, to name only two things. You can't get walrus in Hoboken, though there have been people living there who resemble them, (me, for one). I took my temperature just after reading your message, and it appears I am not dead. I want to thank you for bringing this up. Now that I know I'm not dead, I may as well do some more writing. Fans are useful in drawing a writer's attention to things like that. I like BORGEL myself, not that I remember all that much about it.

P.S. Fafner is pronounced ""fotheringay.""


Post #689 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

Mr Pinkwater,

First let me say that your writing is fully brilliant. Clever to no end, and all of that. Now let me jump over towards the question…

I read and reread descriptions of the old neighborhood part of town in Snarkout Boys and the Avacado of Death (as well as descriptions of the theatre, area surrounding, etc.) Is this based on a real area? if so- how can I get there from Snellville, Georgia? (the town where “everybody is somebody”-but nobody, believe me, is much of anybody)

Daniel replies:

It's mostly Chicago, little bit of New York, touch of Philadelphia....but, I assure you, there were people in those places, at the same time I was there, for whom they were just the same as Snellville, Ga, (and I bet I could write a good story about that town--I did about Rochester, NY).

Hal Johnson

Post #725 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

I must say, Hoboken has more frat boys in it than one would be led to believe from reading your books. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if, ever since I wrote and told you, several months ago, that I was moving to Hoboken–if you have been laughing at me behind my back all this time, occasionally shaking you head in disbelief and muttering, “I can’t believe I tricked that nimrod into moving there.”

Frat boys regardless, Hoboken is a nice town, and it is true, as Norman says in _Atilla the Pun_, that you can furnish your apartment with items found on the street. I amuse myself by taking friends of mine on Pinkwater-Tours of Hoboken, the highlight of which is an exciting trip to the playground at which Henrietta learned to slide.

I was wondering if you would be willing to provide the approximate locations of the Magic Moscow (or the place that inspired it, should there be one) and your old Hoboken homestead. Surely the statute of limitations has expired, and you can no longer be held acountable for whatever acts fo depravity you committed there; the Cold War is over, and with it your need for secrecy. If I could point out “the old Pinkwater place” on my tours, I would no longer have to hear people say: “That’s it? A crummy slide?”

I would like to point out that I do not charge for these tours, and that I have never eaten a child of my own.

Daniel replies:

It must be 17 years since I last saw Hoboken--no, I tell a lie, it's only 13, (but that was just for as long as it took to slurp some clams, and then duck back to Manhattan). So, it's probably changed a lot since I made it up entirely out of whole cloth for those books.

When I lived there, my mental urban model was an amalgamation of Chicago and Los Angeles, with specific excerpts from New York, London, and Cincinnati, a shot of the White Castle in Cleveland at 2:00 AM, and a certain intersection in the old part of Nairobi. Since then it's changed a bit, and has some Poughkeepsie in it.

You actually live in Hoboken? I didn't know anybody did that any more.

Jessica Blankenship

Post #568 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

Mr Pinkwater,

Your book “Young Adult Novel” got me through a very serious illness, not that I medicated myself with it but it gave me something to think about when nurses and doctors played Lets Find The Vein!! (a game more popular than you’d think) and probably prevented me from having to kill them. So on behalf of their continued ability to procreate and respirate I thank you. As for me, the book was the only thing that made me smile for a very long time, and it still does and so do you….

Daniel replies:

It is annoying when they search for your vein in vain. Even humor is a vein that can wane under such venous invasion. Reports such as yours, that a book of mine was of some use, tend to vitalize my vanity. It may be that other sorts of doctors can help you with the fixed smile.

Abe Gurewitz

Post #625 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

Earlier I wrote you on some questions for a paper that I am writing. To be more precise on the questions I had. 1.why do you make fun of how many jewish people are fat, the things that they eat, the way that they dress, and the way that they talk.

Please tell me what you think on these topics and what I could use to show them. I own both moosepire books, borgel, lizard music, fish whistle, Hoboken days and chicago nights, fat men from outer space, and all the snark out boy series.


Abe Gurewitz

P.S. My dad wanted me to mention that he grew up in Benton Harbour Michigan and your charecter from there in the book Borgel seemed to resemble a person who he knew when he lived there.

Daniel replies:

I think the expression ""make fun of,"" is what's giving me the problem. You don't think I am ridiculing people, do you? And I already dealt with your problem concerning Jews in an earlier answer.

Tell your father I have been in Benton Harbor, MI, lots of times. Very special people there. So I think I know where he's coming from, as they say.


Post #683 – 19970101

January 1, 1997


Dig,like I dig you the most, dig? I dig your flip, and your riff, and the place your wig is at, dig? Now did this the most, dig?

a hepcat like you, being the cats pajamas, dig, writes such finery for youth. Why is there no Manus Jrs running about? Why no Jill Jrs? Why no little alan Mendelson Pinkawaters or perhaps a Walter Galt Jr? I have met you, my hep friend, have submitted work to you, admire and respect you, now this my great guru of the jelly donut I must know….for sooth whyfore hast thou not sprung forth fruit from thy loins? in short… why dontcha got a kid? Youd be the perfect papa being such a kid yourself.

Daniel replies:

I regard your fatha, the eminent George, as my spiritual descendent--thus, I am your grandpappy, in a sort of hideous manner of speaking. (You must stop this unnerving fixation on hipster patois--and get a haircut). Nice to hear from you, you bongoing crazy man.

Patrick Snook

Post #686 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

Dear Sir,

I heard your radio essay yesterday (Wednesday, 18 March, All Things Considered) about your long search for a decent cup of coffee and a respectable sandwich.

I make superb coffee, quite respectable sandwiches, and not too distractingly bad diner food. My wife and I would like to run our own cafe someday. We’re relatively young, and yet we might not let you down by shortchanging you, or serving frou-frou finger food, or . . . heaven forbid . . . selling espresso.

How about letting us know how to contact the owner and seller of that little cafe, and we’ll see if we can keep you happy of a Sunday.

Daniel replies:

I received email from the prospective new owners of the Bangall Country Store, in Bangall, New York. They assure me that they intend to continue the fine tradition of good bread and lovely cooking. I promised them I will give them a serious series of trials, and correct the record, if it's warranted.

Daniel M. Kanemoto

Post #575 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

Mr. Pinkwater,

Wow. I actually get to ask Daniel Pinkwater a qestion. This is… unbelievable. After reading some of the comments on this page, I’m discovering that my story is strangly similiar to many other people who’ve written you — as a second-grader in the middle of Wisconsin, I found your books in the school library and was hooked (first, it was THE WORMS OF KUKUKALIMA and then, of course, LIZARD MUSIC). I haven’t quit since.

This is actually the SECOND letter I wrote to you — the last time, I used a pencil and that really soft, gray paper they only seem to give to kids in elementary school (great for crayons!) Unfortunatly, I sent the letter to the wrong address — somewhere in Alaska, if I remember correctly — and it got returned, unread. But the letter is still in my scrapbook at home, and it reminds me of what it was like to be a kid, full of imagination, re-reading LIZARD MUSIC obsessivly (in fact, my nickname in the small town I grew up in remains “The Chicken Man”).

But enough rambling — I’ve got a question! I’ve since left Wisconsin (which I miss terribly), and now I live in New York City, where I attend NYU film school. I’m working on my second film, and my question is: would it be possible to adapt a Daniel Pinkwater story for a strictly NON PROFIT student film? Let me know – I think many of your stories are cinematic, and imagining the world of Daniel Pinkwater is one of the main reasons I’ve fallen in love with the movies as well as reading.

Thanks for listening,

Daniel M. Kanemoto

Daniel replies:

I have sent you email nobody who comes here will ever know my response to your query.

Al Mickler

Post #645 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

Keep on writing for PBS – we recently really enjoyed your talk about the “missing trees” and are sorry they died. At least one year ago (two?) you wrote one of the greatest articles ever – you were sick with the flu and your wife wasn’t – is there any way I could get a copy of that? I think of it often and wish I could read and/or hear it again! Keep up the great writing!

Daniel replies:

I have no idea what piece you're talking about. Sure it wasn't one of the other commentators, the Romanian guy, or the southern lady?

Pam Vieira-McGinnis

Post #542 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

Greetings Mr. Pinkwater…

I guess I was pretty much the last person to hear about your web page on tonight’s All Things Considered rebroadcast judging your stack of mail. I jumped right up out of bed and rushed to surf for some Pinkwater.

It would be hard to add something new and original, so I would just like to say my family and I all have enjoyed your writing, most particularly The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, which we have on audio tape (oh, so would that be reading and writing, I am not sure, oh well either way, you are swell.

Thank you so very much. I send my most sincerest regards and best wishes.

Daniel replies:

I have _such_ nice readers. Thanks.


Post #553 – 19970101

January 1, 1997


Please excuse my late night ravings and English errors…

I really should read my posts and correct both English and grammar before writing to the SAGE of NPR.

Why the Sage of NPR? It is no simple feat arranging for a frog-pond story starring all of the folks who get more time than 3 min/month!

This apology is directed to both The SAGE of NPR (OK, Andre is a distant second) and all of the web page readers.

Now, how do I find out what happened in that “P”city? I’ll pay. I’ll make a donation to any person, place or thing for the lowdown. I DID not let my mind wander…I happened to be on the way home and when I turned on ATC you were at the end of your 1 minute out of the 5400 I have to filter through each month to gain those pearls of wisdom you cautiously share.

I will never forget the Radio-favor story when your stereo was stolen; the Automotive-fitness manual story and most of the remaining 36 stories per year that you share with us. I just know that the “P” city story must be a classic. How can I beg, borrow, buy or steal that 1 minute of Pinkwater Haiku?

Your Fan,

George R. (Rick) O’Connor

Daniel replies:

I had written a response to your postscript, but the compuserve mail engine was cranky, so it may never have arrived. Such is life, what?

Frank Kelly

Post #720 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

Do you devote a specific time or day or amount of time each day or week to writing? How did you make the leap into supporting yourself as a creative writer? Did you “have a day job” or did you just start out as the one and only DP, author and entertainer? Please respond.

Daniel replies:

I don't know how to answer questions like that. To this day I get cheated by rapacious and immoral publishers because I am so interested in what I'm doing, and having so much fun, and so engrossed, that I forget to watch what the slime-balls are up to. I don't recall making any decision as such--just doing what I was doing. Being an easy mark may have had something to do with, in effect, being offered a career. (Just today received a fairly large check with a letter to explain that it represented royalties from 1991 on a certain book of mine--not sent until now because the publisher had ""lost my address,"" and the oversight had turned up during an audit preparatory to a takeover. Significant is not that they failed to pay me any royalties since 1991, but that I hadn't noticed. See?)

Brian & Lori

Post #547 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

I consider it a lucky day when I happen to be listening to NPR at a time when your comments are broadcast. Thanks!

Daniel replies:

I consider it a lucky day when my comments are broadcast too.

Stefan Jones

Post #690 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

Dear Captain:

Many months ago I asked you what I should do with two avacados I’d bought after being inspired by your novel _The Snarkout Boys and the Avacado of Doom_. I turned these into guacamole (that’s Spanish for “guaca sauce”), but thoughtlessly threw away the pits.

Now I have two more fresh avacado pits, and would like to grow them as you suggested way back when. My question: Which side goes up? The skinny side? The fat side? If I get it wrong will the plant grow with its roots in the air until it can no longer hold its breath and drown?

Thank you in advance for your help!

Daniel replies:

I believe you're supposed to put the avocado pits under your pillow. Then the Avocado-Fairy will come in the night, and give you lovely dreams. Or kill you--I forget which.

Martha Silverspring

Post #698 – 19970101

January 1, 1997

You are an inspiration. I am 45, 5’7″, 275. Diet pills at 11, pediatricians threatening to wire my jaws together, every diet in the world since then. After the last one I gained 150 lb…

I had tried to diet for my beloved husband. I lost 80 with O.A. It was gruelling: I weighed and measured all my food, schlepped containers of healthy stuff everywhere, refrained from all sugar for 3 years. Finally I couldn’t hold my head under water anymore, I gained that 150, and now I am divorced.

I used to think, “if there was a pill I could take to make me a lesbian, I’d take it. At least dykes don’t care so much about weight.” Then I read ‘The Afterlife Diet’. Now I am looking for a Pinkwater-type man.

Oh, yes, and your voice on the radio is wonderful too.

P.S.- I am an R.N., and when some idiot tells me I’m overweight I say, “NO [censored]??!! No one HAS EVER SAID THAT to me before!!!” If that doesn’t stop them, I say, “You know, dear, there are worse things than being overweight. Like making personal remarks about other people’s bodies.” It’s great to be alive.

Daniel replies:

I am pretty clever on paper, when I can take time to prepare, but the following I actually came up with in real time:

DOCTOR: Mr. Pinkwater, I have to tell you, you are quite obese.

ME: Can you just _tell_ that? Fantastic! I guess they train you

to be observant. It must be great to be a doctor.

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