Every life thing

Every life thing

Reminded of Shel Silverstein and his absurdity and disobedience toward childhood:

I think he wanted to give kids a sense of life as a fairy tale, but a dark one. He didn’t want to whitewash things. Or leave kids unprepared to deal with trouble.

That’s his nephew, Mitch Myers, one of the managers of his collection. He and a team are preparing for the release of a new Silverstein book, Every Thing On It, and have been tasked with archiving his “collection:”

One of the things you learn is that “polymath” doesn’t even begin to describe Silverstein. His creativity extended in so many directions that his archivists must be versed not just in turn-of-the-century world children’s literature, but Waylon Jennings’s deep cuts; not just in reel-to-reel tape preservation, but how to keep an old restaurant napkin scribbled with lyrics from falling apart. And you also learn that Silverstein seemed to have a terrific time drawing, rhyming, and singing his way through life.

Where the Sidewalk Ends – if there were books I lived by growing up – was a textbook. Permission for messiness, for non-easy stories, for seeing. I read its poems and drawings such that the pages were dirty and flimsy from study. I feared it, starting with the precarious cover, as much as I adored it. Life could be a fairy tale, a neatly bounded poem – but irreverent. And that was totally okay.