Like many lucky people, I was read to as a child.
I especially loved to hear Mom find her way through the weird words of Dr. Seuss. We always pronounced his name ‘soose’, but I have since heard that the proper pronunciation rhymes with rejoice. I suspect that the good doctor was very formative for me, instilling me a zany sense of humor and a love of playfulness with words. Not to mention the perspectives and values inherent in his themes. What does one learn from from The Lorax who speaks for the trees? How about the lessons of the Star-bellied Sneeches?
There were other books Mom read to me too. Grown-up books. One she returned to time and again was Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I was fascinated by the young Brahmin venturing out from the shelter of his village, renouncing the privileges of his caste to learn about suffering and the deep, hidden truths of life and himself. These were important early lessons for me in the existence of vastly different cultures and belief systems in the world.
Can it really be
That it was me
There listening rapt
As young Mom rapped
About the fox in socks?
So much has happened since then
Such various me’s I’ve been
But I believe there still hides
That little boy inside
Like a clown on a coil in a box.
Look out! He’s fixing to spring
Bouncing forth to say something
Equal parts silly and profound:
“Words make the world round.”
Yes, the boy in the man sometimes talks.