Day 322. The More Than a Writer One.

The universe is funny. This blog's been on my mind lately..."haven't posted in a while" "I'm becoming too cynical" "does anyone care" "well I have to at least finish this thing..." Then, I went to a baby shower where the hosts asked that we bring a favorite children's book instead of a card - and I had no other option pop into my mind than "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein.

Then, today, my friend, Tim, posted THIS on Twitter and thus ensued a whole discussion and sharing of quotes by Shel Silverstein. And all of a sudden, my entire childhood was flooding back to me. And I dove into the "official" Shel Silverstein site (beautiful by the way - to me, totally encapsulates Shel - check it out). And I found the copy of The Giving Tree online, and I read it again. And I looked at Tim's image, and read it again. And I remembered so much...and thus, a blog entry is born.

I remember The Giving Tree being one of the first books my parents gave me. One of the first I could read on my own. It had a coveted spot on my bookshelf. And I remember my grandmother giving me all of the Shel Silverstein poetry books..."Where the Sidewalk Ends", "A Light In The Attic", "The Missing Piece", "The Missing Piece Meets the Big O" and on and on. And I loved them all. Passionately. I still have every original copy given to me. Later tonight, I think I'm going to re-read them all.

Because, these books were REAL. They weren't sugar coated "kids books". They weren't "Poetry" with a capital P. They were stories - that made you imagine, and realize others did and it was OK. Trees did talk to little boys; and if a nonsense word would rhyme in your poem, well use it; and images didn't have to be "pretty" to mean something. I lived in those books...and while, apparently, there was some controversy surrounding these books, (news to me!*) I think I sorta felt all those things that people questioned, but in a good way. It made it ok to think that people do die, or that some people give too much, or take too much or not enough. It let you know that the world was sometimes unfair, and painful but never in an "Afterschool Special" sort of way (shut up - they were on all the time when I was little - 4PM. ABC. I'm old.)

Now, sadly, I am writing this to Mr. Silverstein well after his death in 1999. And therefore, I am somewhat breaking the rules of this blog. But, if you believe, as many writers do, that their written words is how they stay alive, then - well maybe - I'm ok with this post. And, as Shel taught me, if I can imagine that, then its real within my world.

I can't imagine how many kids Shel's writings have touched - but I'm one of them. And they mean something to me not only because of the words on the page but because of all the memories wrapped up therein. I'm glad I had Shel's books as part of my childhood...and I'm glad they're still out there for kids to read. Regardless of your age, I implore you to go get one of his books and read it. Arguably you will find yourself transported - even if just for a moment. It may become more meaningful than you expected.

Thank you, Mr. Silverstein. Thank you so much.

*Sidebar: many of the links here are to wikipedia articles - the content of which was surprising to me to read given that I have had such a profound experience with Shel's books in my life. So, take them for what they are worth, but, as I said, do me a favor, go buy at least one of these books...read it...tell me what you think. That's OK...I'll wait. It will be worth it ;)

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