Lemony Snicket - part 2 - Author
This is RIF's Interview the Second with A Series of Unfortunate Events author Lemony Snicket. Readers of Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography will have a leg up on this Q&A.
RIF: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I didn't realize this was a sad occasion.
Our first question: Although your origin is shaded in mystery, your readers do know that you were born at Valorous Farms Dairy and that you also became friends with the cheesemakers who lived on the premises. RIF has programs all across the US and quite a few cheesemaker friends in Wisconsin. Were you born any where near Wisconsin? What can you tell us about your childhood on the farm and the first book you recall getting?
Lemony Snicket: All one needs to make cheese is a milk-producing animal and a damp room - circumstances which are hardly limited to the state of Wisconsin. The dairy in which I spent a portion of my childhood was located near a muddy field, if that helps you picture things. One thing I was careful not to drop in the mud was my prized copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, one of the first books I could read by myself.
RIF: RIF ‘s mission helps children start their first libraries at home. Do you have a library in your home? What do you think of us encouraging our RIF volunteers to hang a sign in their libraries that reads “The World Is at your Fingertips at the Library! Please Be Quiet Here.” What would a sign like that be made of, maybe emerald wood?
LS: The libraries of the world contain enough crucial and interesting secrets without adding any to their signage. As I live much of my life away from home, I consider any library I encounter to be "mine" in the sense that I am usually welcomed as long as my hands are clean.
RIF: Our RIF volunteers give away free books for ownership to children at something we call Very Fun Distributions. All RIF children not only get to choose a free book to keep but also participate in Various Fantastic Duties or motivational activities. What kind of activities do you think would motivate a child to read?
LS: It seems to me that people abandon reading when there are too many activities rather than too few. If sitting in a comfortable, quiet place with books in easy reach counts as an activity, then I am one of the most active people I know.
RIF: When I told my friend “Ned H. Rirger” that I would be speaking with you, he had this question for you: Do you purposefully include information like anagrams, and by anagrams, I mean a word or phrase formed by reordering the letters of another word or phrase, such as Al Funcoot, Count Olaf, into your books to throw your readers off the right track?
LS: I would only throw a reader off a track if a train were barreling down it.
RIF: Speaking of Count Olaf, would you say that he is a man who does not need our help, a bad man in good trouble, not vice versa? Does he wish that things had turned out differently? If he wrote an autobiography, would he call it The Most Handsome Man in the World? Would be a good idea to have Count Olaf to a dramatic reading from his favorite book at one of our Distributions? Any chance of a Lemony Snicket reading?
LS: I would prefer not to speak of Count Olaf at all, even if he, like all of us, wishes things had turned out differently. Normally I would be happy to appear at one of your organization's functions, but if you haven't the sense to know whether or not inviting a villain to participate is "a good idea," I think I'd best stay home and hide under the bed.
RIF: With all due respect, thank you so much for the interview.
LS: You are more or less welcome.