Today is the birthday of Ted Geisel, Dr. Seuss. As an artist, he is one of my heros. When people ask me which artists I have been influenced by, I look to people like Ted Geisel and Charles Schulz. Geisel was man who combined dizzying talent with a real-world practicality, an artist who demonstrated how art can be used to demonstrably improve people’s lives.
My 2-1/2 year old son has just gotten into Seuss, so I’ve been lucky enough to re-experience his works, and watch my son experience them for the first time. We started with Green Eggs and Ham, reading it each night for a couple of weeks. But then we moved on to Horton Hears a Who, which he has me read to him at least twice a day. Ah, Horton! It has to be one of my favorite books, period. Green Eggs is fun, The Cat in the Hat is wild, but Horton is sublime. And the language — oh, the language is just beautiful: the sound of it, the way it feels as you read it, the way it makes the story flow through your mind. Whenever we get to the part of the story where the Whos all shout “we are here, we are here, we are here, we are here”, and my son lets out a cheer, it never fails to choke me up. It never fails to amaze me how my son is riveted to this story, time and time again. To make a work of art that has such an impact… I cannot imagine what that must be like.