Happy Birthday, Daniel Handler / Lemony Snicket, born 28 February 1970
Daniel Handler Quotes
I was researching my first novel … and I was on the phone with a right-wing religious organization. I wanted them to mail me material that I could use in my research, but didn’t want to be permanently on their mailing list. They asked me what my name was and I opened my mouth and said ‘Lemony Snicket’. I thought that’s not a name that anyone would necessarily believe. But then the person on the other end of the phone said, ‘Is that spelled how it sounds?’ Which may or may not prove something about right-wing religious organizations.
Writing a book is always a tightrope walk, and always feels strange — one must care about something so thoroughly, in an embryonic state, that one has made up to begin with.
I’m at my desk Monday through Friday, about 9 AM to about 3 PM, after which I take a walk. My day isn’t haphazard, but one can never predict how long it will take until a manuscript is worth reading, let alone until a manuscript is a book. A good part of writing well is writing lousily.
Before the Snicket books took off I answered phones, sold books, wrote for radio, read manuscripts for a literary agent, played cocktail piano and reviewed films.
You see failed vocabulary in the adult world so often, and it’s often because once you reach a certain age you’re kind of embarrassed to go look up a word if you don’t know what it means. And then you just start using it however it feels right. … I think children are less embarrassed to go look up the truth.
Eavesdrop a lot and take notes. It’s a way to begin to think about how the world around you is made of stories.
I wake up, drink espresso, walk my kid to school, take the bus to a swimming pool, swim laps, and then work, mostly longhand on legal pads, in my office at home or in one of a handful of cafés with very patient staff. I like to listen to appropriate music, and I always need a couple of unsharpened pencils nearby to tap and drum while thinking.
Everybody has a theory.
Why haven’t we fixed sick yet? You scientists there— put down those starfish and HELP us. I hereby demand that all the people who are good at math make the world free of illness. The rest of us will write you epic poems and staple them together into a booklet.
I sort of love it when things are going badly because I know that means that soon things will go well. I just stay at my desk, and I say, ‘There’s no shame in writing crap,’ knowing that it’s good for the brain because meanwhile, in some corner, something is getting nudged.
I like writing. A lot of writers act like it’s a plague upon them (to write), which is funny to me. If you’re a basketball player making $30 million a year, well, you have your motivation. But in the case of writing I just think, why do it then?
I just don’t think people are reading Twitter instead of a novel. The history of literature has always been interspliced with people worrying about it going away. But it seems to me there are more committed readers than ever.
Lemony Snicket Quotes
Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.
Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.
One of the remarkable things about love is that, despite very irritating people writing poems and songs about how pleasant it is, it really is quite pleasant.
If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf.
People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.
There are some who say that sitting at home reading is the equivalent of travel, because the experiences described in the book are more or less the same as the experiences one might have on a voyage, and there are those who say that there is no substitute for venturing out into the world. My own opinion is that it is best to travel extensively but to read the entire time, hardly glancing up to look out of the window of the airplane, train, or hired camel.
Reading is one form of escape. Running for your life is another.
There are many, many types of books in the world, which makes good sense, because there are many, many types of people, and everybody wants to read something different.
All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk.
No matter who you are, no matter where you live, and no matter how many people are chasing you, what you don’t read is often as important as what you do read.
Strange as it may seem, I still hope for the best, even though the best, like an interesting piece of mail, so rarely arrives, and even when it does it can be lost so easily.
It is useless for me to describe to you how terrible Violet, Klaus, and even Sunny felt in the time that followed. If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels, and if you haven’t, you cannot possibly imagine it.
Lemony Snicket is a pen name of American novelist Daniel Handler. He is also a screenwriter and accordionist. Handler is the author of several children’s books, serving as the narrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events and appearing as a character within the series.