Happy Birthday to you, Dr. Seuss!
I am very aware that there are probably about 5,000,000,000,000,000,000+ other blogs posting about Dr. Seuss today. Without doubt, he is that awesome of a writer, artist and person.
But that’s not why I am dedicating this post to Dr. Seuss.
When it comes to books, I have the visual attention span of a little kid. Exaggerated scales, bright colors, simple shapes and silly, made-up words. That’s it. I don’t want complicated, hidden meanings or realistic images. I don’t want to read about real life, I want to read something that comes alive. In the wise words of Spoon, “gimme fiction.” I am 25 years old and that hasn’t changed.
Go in my closet (here, you’re going to need this torch) and you’ll find my teeny tiny book collection that houses the basics: Seuss, Dahl, Silverstein, Carle, Burton and Rowling. These writers don’t seem to be so concerned with real life either. In fact, they make fun of it. And I understand why. Look up the beginnings of almost all of these writers and there in big font is a common theme, "IT’LL NEVER SELL." Whether consciously so or not, the work of these accomplished artists repeatedly illustrates a certain motive to defy that annoying barrier that most of us today can now thankfully replace with what we know as artistic license.
Dr. Seuss tells stories that are more personal than teaching right from wrong. He shares with us a life learned through struggle - and sometimes, unfairness. He channels the triumphant power of courage and persistence, in the most inspiring, sing-along manner. To me, this post is about something that personal.
For the past several years, I have found myself stuck somewhere between can’t and never. Professionally, I felt like I was slowly being caved in by shadowy figures who didn’t really believe in me. I kept ping-ponging between their criticisms of “that’s art” and “that’s not architecture.” They made me a thinker, but no longer a believer. I had gone in at 18 loud, proud and crazy. By the time I got out, my work had succumbed to the expectations of cold, functional realities and was lost of my identity. Wasn’t long after I felt like I too, was no longer me. Personally, I also felt trapped by a strict confinement to fit a certain mold: graduate, find a job, make money, marry, have kids. What do you mean you are not just going to do architecture after all? What else was that $90k for???? Again, I had to face cold, functional realities. I’m sure this may upset or offend some, but I owe those the truth. Every part of me felt like it was turning gray and fading into the background. With the worries of pleasing everyone else but me, I was invisible.
Enter Dr. Seuss. I remember a specific day in August of last year I had gone into a local bookstore to purchase a special birthday gift for someone. I had previously done all the extensive research and my visit was supposed to be a quick, one-stop shop. I ended up sitting on the floor going through piles of Dr. Seuss books until I was finally escorted out the store at closing time. The way in which the bright colors of Seuss’s characters popped against gray and subdued backgrounds made me fall in love with his books all over again. It made me fall in love with me all over again.
I had gone home and started drawing. The next few weeks I was trying all kinds of (both old and new) things: painting, writing, dancing, making jewelry, collaging cards, running, yelling, etc. I didn’t stop.
Dr. Seuss made me come alive. This is what I found so crucial to all of a sudden drop everything and get my coloring pencils out. I couldn’t draw heavily enough in this post how much those huge letters pictured up above spell out the greatest advice I’ve come across in a long time. To think I found it all for just the price of $14.95 goes to show you that how much money you make means nothing.
P.S. The fact that spell-check recognizes “Suess” wraps up just how important he is to adults as he is to kids. If you haven’t already, visit Seussville.