“Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it develops a sense of humor, which si awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.”
-Dr. Theordore Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss.
Today is Dr. Seuss’ birthday!
The thing that always captured me about the works of Dr. Seuss as a kid wasn’t that there was some joy of reading out there for my childlike self to discover, not yet. Sure, that would follow soon on the heels of discovering Suess’s fascinating world of characters and silliness…
And it’s funny, when my mother first started taking me to libraries, and first started showing me that books contained not just knowledge, but whole worlds inside them, whole new amazing discoveries, she would say things like, “Oh, the places you’ll go!” I knew it was cheesy back then, but didn’t know she was cribbing it from Seuss himself. It didn’t matter though. When she said it, I believed her. She was my mother, after all. And her boundless enthusiasm about the world of literature that was about to come crashing down on me was far too intoxicating.
But, no, the world of Seuss isn’t just a gateway to the joys of reading. His works and the works of someone like Shel Silverstein, whom I see many parallels, taught you more about the rhyme and reason, to pardon the pun there, of the world that awaited children. They showed you something else: silliness and nonsense.
Your parents and teachers read these stories to you or introduced them to you and they too thought they were nonsense. And as a kid, there’s so many things you don’t understand, so many things that you know you don’t understand and you look at your parents for those answers and some things are just too big to explain to the mind of a child. And there’s far too many questions that you can have to which the answer “…when you’re older” just hurts to hear. But then Seuss comes into your hands. You read it with your parents or any adult and that smile comes on both of your faces, that smile and laugh at something so ridiculous, and it’s shared. It’s a simple world, one of hilarious images and rhyming dialogue and no narrative descriptions, and it’s easy and fun. For a second there, you’re on a plateau with anyone of all ages. And then you get your footing, you grow and develop, and you continue climbing.
Some linkage, unrelated:
Two literary superstars (Ian McEwan and Rick Moody) publishing science fiction soon.
Nanotube thermocells hold promise as energy source.
Looting in Chile.
Speaking of which, the earthquake in Chile may have changed the Earth’s axis, shortened days on the planet.
The mystery of nuclear scientist’s “bizarre” disappearance.
The world’s first temple?
Doing an about-face on “overmedicated” children.
Really, Carly, it’s about David Geffen? Really?
Roger Ailes is a self-loathing liberal.
The universe is “hella big.”
Seuss and the frequently mentioned cat, from the Dr. Suess Memorial.