When does the sidewalk end?
Growing up I feel a lot of judgement is placed on those who dare to think outside of normal means of reality. Although I feel it has veered towards more acceptance, I still feel as though a stigmata is upheld over us as adults; this notion of “being serious.” Around my third semester into college I developed old habits from before (anxiety, depression, over bearing thoughts that wouldn’t stop), and slowly realized that I could not come to terms with all the seriousness I was seemingly surrounded by. I withdrew. Withdrew into my adolescence, withdrew from my friends, my family…I cut off everyone but myself and left myself alone in my dorm with all of my old belongings from before. This culmination of things I used for clinging to my past were: books, movies, action figures, video games; whatever I could remember as part of that time where I had no fears of making goals for my own life. The time where everything seemed to be a grand new experience every day.
One such book was Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. It immediately brought me back. Back to what I was longing for. That time of pure innocence where nothing mattered. In WtSE, rules were bent and broken in the style of Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass, but also had sketches to enhance the visual capacity to the Seuss-ian language Silverstein uses. Mixing an eclectic style and rhythmic flow, Silverstein made not only poems that developed children’s musical interests, but also their visual artistic ability and their sense of creativity. If you have never read, or had the chance to read it to a child, I suggest doing yourself a favor.
Silverstein develops this wonderful system of flourishing imaginations that could gear any young child towards wonderful creative ways of thinking towards the future. That is what makes it important for literary critique. This book is wound into the fabric of the Millenial generation and it had a clear cultural impact on us in the long run. Today I am who I am thanks to a majority of the words and images I found in this book. These words were my building blocks, the desire, the lust for wanting more and more words to come to me. Silverstein does something incredible by making obscure laughable phrases that we can’t help but remember and laugh to. This is beauty in times where things seem so grim.
For the best reads check out: Where the Sidewalk Ends, Spaghetti, and The Worst
“And so the lone wolf solemnly
Hums a tune of harmony.
Mixed with the night,
He see’s the flight,
But does not recall
Of the mysterious