MJ Miike

December 16, 2012

Post #3214 – 20121216

I am writing to thank Mr. Pinkwater for a long and distinguished career, and to say that of the three authors who have influenced me most–Snorri Sturluson, Jorge Luis Borges and Daniel Pinkwater–it is perhaps Pinkwater who has had the greatest effect. All three writers are are towering giants of imagination, one a blind poet, another a lawspeaker of medieval Iceland, yet only one could have envisioned an ice cream confection that is baked and served in an army surplus backpack, an idea that has as much appeal today as on the day it was written, and will certainly continue to inspire as long as there are ice cream confections and army surplus backpacks. And while literary critics the world over are quick to point out the sublime qualities of “Loki’s Flyting” or “The Lottery in Babylon”, can it not be said that “Lizard Music” is as or even more sublime? Further, among these three luminaries, it is only Pinkwater who, upon recommendation and regardless of the age of the reader, is sure to return a delighted response. Thus it logically follows that if a standard of literary greatness is the joy one derives from reading, Mr. Pinkwater must always land at the top of the heap. In fact, so great was Mr. Pinkwater’s influence upon my life and thinking, I eventually realized that I too had to write a book. Part of the impetus came from my recent reading of the top-notch “Neddiad”, which as a student of the classics (literally, I have a degree) I appreciated on many levels, not least of which it’s keeping alive the memory of the exquisite meals to be had in dining cars during the golden age of rails, an era I, sadly, was born too late to experience, but still remember being regaled with tales of by my mother who, at Ned’s age, was lucky enough to experience this lost American institution after the war when crossing the country with her own parents. But perhaps most poignant was the memory of how impressed I was at the age of 13 with the now sadly much forgotten modern classic “The Last Guru”, a book of immense quality and profound ideas and profound silliness, and how positively that book has influenced me in the last thirty or so years of my life. It is not my intention to hijack this forum to promote my new book, titled “Travels with Sarai”, and so I will not describe it except to say that it is written from the perspective of a young adult Yeti from Bhutan with certain mystical powers, who along with his plucky companion Sarai, a post-doctoral researcher on a grant from the National Geographic Society to catalogue new species, stumbles into the middle of a Bigfoot/Chupacabra war. And while I can state with with assurance that this book is neither the best book ever written nor the worst but somewhere squarely in-between (which to my mind is a good place to be), and my hope that, like the work of Mr. Pinkwater, young adults of all ages will find it instructive and amusing and to contain some interesting ideas, neither is that my intent in this forum. No, I am merely writing to let the inimitable Mr. Pinkwater know that his works continue to inspire and have surely yielded an influence larger than their sum, and to let him know that I have taken the liberty of thanking him in my acknowledgements, should he, despite a long and fruitful career in the book trade, still not be tired of seeing his name in print.

Daniel replies:

Snorri Sturluson?