walk among the stars

March 09, 2021 in About my arttopics:

“Now and then, though, someone does begin to grow differently. Instead of down, his feet grow up toward the sky. But we do our best to discourage awkward things like that.”
“What happens to them?” insisted Milo.
“Oddly enough, they often grow ten times the size of everyone else,” said Alec thoughtfully, “and I’ve heard that they walk among the stars.”

Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth, has passed away.

The Phantom Tollboth, like for so many of us, changed how I though about books, about art, and about how to live. When my wife and I were first dating, and living on opposite side of the country, I would read it to her over the phone when we were first dating. When we had children, it was one of the first books I read to them, far too early probably… or not early enough?

I took an architecture class with Norton at Hampshire College in the 1980s. I was incredible out of my depth, but he was a kind and effective teacher, and I learned ideas that have stayed with me to this day. So many times throughout that year, I wanted to talk to him about The Book, thank him for what it meant to me. But I was nervous. And it was clear, we where there to learn other things.

But finally, eleven years ago, I got to see Norton along with the amazing Jules Feiffer after a talk they gave. I said hello, introduced my family to him, and — thank god — got to say THANK YOU.

Farewell Norton.

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