Rabbits Full of Magic

08 December 2009

 

A Box of Sun



A Box of Sun, part of the Rainbow Box collection from 1970, was written by Joseph Pintauro and Norman Laliberte. I happen to own three out of four of these books so I've been posting scans of them on my flickr account because they are very difficult to find. Finally, I have found some information on the author, from this post by Katy Gurley for Dan's Papers. I hope they don't mind if I quote a little bit of it here:

Pintauro was born in Ozone Park in Queens. He attended grade school at Public School 62, where his 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Dean, predicted his future after he completed an essay on Abraham Lincoln that imagined the young Abe traveling with his family and viewing the world through the cracks in a wagon.

"I wrote the whole thing without ever mentioning the Gettysburg address," Pintauro recalled, certain he would flunk the assignment. "But the teacher called my mother and said, 'This boy is going to become a writer.'"

At John Adams High School in Queens, Pintauro wrote for the school newspaper, The Flipper, before going on to Manhattan College where he received a bachelor of arts degree. He also attended St. Jerome's College, Ontario, where he received a B.A in Philosophy. He later completed studies for an M.A. in American Literature at Fordham University.

Pintauro's education took a decidedly different turn in the '50s, when, after questioning the meaning of God when his mother got a fatal diagnosis of breast cancer, he decided to study theology at Our Lady of Angels Seminary, Niagara University, in upstate New York. "I was at a stage when I was demanding all these answers to life, death and faith," Pintauro said. "And I loved the seminary." But his subsequent life as a parish priest for the following six to seven years was not altogether satisfying. "I think I was too much of an idealist for it. It sounds like a terrible judgment, but there was a spiritual element that was lacking in the priests around me and my own faith was flagging," he said. Toward the end of his priesthood, Pintauro submitted his first play, A - My Name is Alice, to a contest at the Circle in the Square Theater in New York. He got a call from a then unknown young actor and director named Dustin Hoffman, who had selected his play to direct. "I went to New York and found myself sitting with Dustin and Robert Duvall. We were all quite young at the time. I found I really liked hanging around with these people," he said. "Dustin directed the play and Bob was in it, and that was what started me off." The play is about a man and a woman who have each lost their spouses and meet at a cemetery, where they get drunk together on brandy and ruminate on life and love.

After finally getting permission to leave the priesthood from the Catholic Church, Pintauro joined the Young & Rubicam, Inc. advertising agency in New York, where he worked a day job as a copywriter while writing poetry and more plays in his spare time. After eight years, his outside writing got in the way of his copywriting duties.

Fired from his job, Pintauro needed a place to begin making a living as a poet, playwright and author. Finding his way to Sag Harbor in the late '60s, Pintauro in 1969 invested in two things - a small Victorian house on John Street and a typewriter. In the '70s, he worked on two novels, Cold Hands, and State of Grace both published in the early '80s. The New York Times cited Cold Hands, about a young boy's coming of age, as a best novel of 1980.


Read my previous post about The Peace Box here

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