Here I am with my favorite writer, Daniel Pinkwater, after a delicious lunch at the Eveready Diner in Hyde Park. The French apple pie was particularly good. They say that if you meet the Buddha on the road you should kill him, but I did not kill Daniel Pinkwater because I want him to write more books. His latest, Bushman Lives, is being serialized here.
Ethan and I both had our moral compasses set to Pinkwater at an early age. My favorite was the picture book The Big Orange Splot. Ethan's was the novel Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars, available in 5 Novels, a great omnibus that also includes Slaves of Spiegel. Here's some vintage Pinkwater from the latter:
The reason the Magic Moscow is an interesting place is that everybody in Hoboken comes in there at least once a week. There are some very weird people in Hoboken. In fact, most of the people in Hoboken are weird in some way or other. For example, today someone finally ordered a Day of Wrath. Steve has been waiting for this for six months. The Day of Wrath is a special sundae.
Some of Steve's other specials include the Moron's Delight and the Nuclear Meltdown. To give an idea of what they're like, the Moron's Delight is served in a shoebox lined with plastic. The Nuclear Meltdown is served in one of those cardboard buckets, the kind you get chicken from the colonel in. The Day of Wrath is served in a knapsack.
This guy came in and ordered one. Steve has had signs up all over the place advertising the Day of Wrath for months. Nobody has shown any interest. Even our Moron's Delight and Nuclear Meltdown customers have shown no interest in it. It costs fourteen ninety-five.
The guy was nothing special - just a regular middle-class guy in a leisure suit, overweight like a lot of our customers. He walked in, read the signs taped to our walls, and ordered a Day of Wrath, the same way anyone would ask for an ice-cream cone.
Steve went right to work, making up the Day of Wrath. It has a whole eggplant, two slabs of whole wheat pizza dough, all sixteen flavors of ice cream, fresh figs, pistachio nuts, a lobster, and assorted garden vegetables and fruit. The whole thing goes into a freshly laundered regulation army knapsack, and Steve shoves it into the microwave oven. Two minutes later, out it comes, piping hot. Steve put on a certain record of music by Franz Liszt, and served it to the customer.
"This is for a real gourmet," Steve said.
The last time Ethan came to the boxing gym, he sat on the ring apron reading 5 Novels, which has a picture of Pinkwater's beatific mug on the cover. Two different boys came up to Ethan and asked if that was him on the cover. At the time I thought this was racial profiling, but the kids were right. It is kind of eerie how much they look alike.
My husband's chunky black glasses are mass-produced plastic and have two silver dots in the corners of the frames. Daniel's chunky black glasses are handmade wood from a mysterious man in China and have three silver dots in the corners of the frames. It was kind of like a two-star general meeting a three-star general.
Ethan and I had big plans to tape an interview wth the Pinkwaters about their art and life, but things turned out differently. Daniel seemed creeped out by our fandom and uninterested in getting the usual star author treatment. Instead I imbibed another kind of lesson from him, something about pleasing myself and not letting the bastards get me down. He also said I need to be more prolific: In the words of his father, "Make extra for the bandits."
I don't even want to write too much about it. As Pearl's mother tells her in The Scarlet Letter, "We must not always talk in the market-place of what happens to us in the forest."