December 12, 2001

Post #1402 – 20011212

Hi Pinkwater. My name is Joseph. I like your books a lot. They are good. I’m astonishingly bright. And terribly literate. Currently, I’m experimenting with bluntness. And sentence fragments. What do you think?

Yeh, I didn’t like it much either. I’ll try it all over again. Hi, Pinkwater. My name is Joseph. I’m 16 years old, astonishingly bright, terribly literate, and fashionably dressed. I live in Madison, Wisconsin. I don’t want it to snow, because once it snows, my mom is going to make me stop driving, and I like driving. Your books are extremely good. I’ve read most of your heftier ones (Alan Mendelsohn, Snarkout Boys, Robert Nifkin, Fishwhistle, Days/Nights) several times. My copy of 5 Novels is bent and stained. I wish it came in hardback. My friend Sam thinks I stole it from him. I didn’t. He doesn’t like Young Adult Novel. I do. I’m thinking that after I graduate from MIT (or mebbe Columbia. Any advice there?) I might become a long haul trucker and dictate childrens books. I’ve read most of your picture books too, but I’ve stopped rereading them obsessively because of the strage looks I get from people in the library check-out line. Not that I mind strange looks, particularly. If I minded strange looks, I wouldn’t stop people in the halls and ask them how they pronounce ‘bagel’ now would I? Did you know that some people pronounce bagel ‘bag-al’? It’s sickening. But anyway, back to how good your books are. I’m currently working on a term research paper for my Advanced Writing class about how children value your books for their “engrossing environments, imaginative storylines and outrageous characters” and teenagers and adults respect them for their “subtle and adept treatment of serious issues.” Those quotes are from my thesis sentence, which we are required to include at the beginning of the paper regardless of whether or not it’s part of the actual paper. I’m doing extremely well in that class. My teacher says he’s never seen a Junior do so well in his class. I’m mindful at all times of your advice to never listen to anything a creative writing teacher tells you, good or bad. I’m going to cook myself a steak now. It’s defrosting now. Then I’ll broil it and eat it. Anyway, I was planning on driving down to Chicago to give a speech at Newberry Park (when I looked it up on the Internet, all the sites referred to it as Washington Square Park. Why the inconsistency?) but apparently nobody does that anymore, and there wouldn’t be any beatniks to listen. I think I may do it anyways. Plus, I want to go to that hamburger joint, the one with the grease stalactites on the ceiling. Anyway, I had fun writing this to you. It was a useful distraction from writing a paper about you. I’ll think I’ll do it again sometime. Next time I’ll go into greater detail about what makes your books so great. Give you something to look forward to.

It would mean a lot if you could write something devastatingly witty in your response.

Daniel replies:

The last time I was in Chicago the greaseburger place was defunct and empty. Now you tell me no one makes speeches in Newberry Park, and they don't even call it that any more. I am depressed. However, you ask for advice, and here it is: Columbia Driving College is a better school than the Michigan Institute of Trucking.