Twins and Xyza Junior Reporters Ella B. and Ari B. attended a recent City Arts & Lectures event featuring Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket). Want to know what inspired him to become a writer or his tips for young people who want to become one? Ella B. and Ari B. have the scoop for you!
On Monday, October 2, our immediate family attended an interview of Daniel Handler by Peggy Orenstein at the Norse theater in San Francisco. This interview was part of the City Arts and Lectures series. Daniel Handler is an author especially known for his dark comedy children’s books, written under the pen name Lemony Snicket. You might recognize his series A Series of Unfortunate Events and his later series All the Wrong Questions.
I, Ella B., raised my hand and asked what inspired him to start writing. He said, “Honestly, it’s hard to remember because I cannot remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. My parents like to tell a story that when I was five or six someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I said I wanted to be an old man who lived at the top of a mountain giving advice,” the audience laughed, “so if that story is true that was something else I wanted to be at some point.”
He went on to say, “I was a voracious reader, and for my whole life I have wanted to be kind of part of the conversation of literature. I like thinking about books as a way people who don’t know each other, who are from all over the world, and all over time, get to have a conversation. And to participate in that conversation, to me, is the essence of writing books. And that’s why it’s such a pleasure and a delight what has happened to me with being a writer. I grew up in San Francisco, I went to Herbst Theater growing up all the time, for City Arts and Lectures, and that was a conversation I wanted to be a part of, and now I am.”
Next, my brother Ari raised his hand and when he was called on stood up and asked what Daniel Handler’s favorite books were when he was a kid. Mr. handler’s response was, “At six, seven, and eight a book that I went to the Merced branch of the library to check out, was a book called Witches, Witches, Witches, which had a bunch of short stories from all over the world on witches. And to learn that there was no place you could go and be safe from witches, felt like very pertinent information. And even now, I live in a house that gets sort of spooky at night, and so when I’m going to bed, and making sure all the doors are locked, And I think to myself there could be a witch, then I think to myself, ‘remember, there’s no place you can’t go… where there isn’t a witch.'”
After the interview, we all lined up to get our books signed. When it was our turn to go up, I asked for any small tip for becoming a writer. Mr. Handler said that a writer should always carry a notebook in case of sudden inspiration. We think that Daniel handler is a great inspiration to future writers out there, a very funny person, and a talented writer. It was very interesting and important for us to attend this event.