I am an optimist, a believer, I have faith in my imagination and trust
in the visions of others. Not so that I wear the t-shirt and loudly
proclaim it, rather it’s a secret that I hold in my heart.
I can’t pass by a wardrobe without wondering if it’s the way into
another land. Shadows remind of boys that can fly and hooting owls
make me wish fervently for mail delivery. Drains make me question the
probability of the lands that live under us.
Before she created those Hunger Games that everyone can’t get enough
of (and justifiably so, they are page-turningly addicting) Suzanne
Collins created a world, well two actually, where a young boy in a
fictionalized city, discovers another society living under ground. In
this dwelling deep inside the earth, he finds giant bugs that talk,
bats that you can ride and prophecies that proceeded dangerous quests.
There are five books in the Gregor series and T and I read each one
aloud. They kept our interest the way a parched man clutches a glass
of water. While we read (devoured) them, we pushed thoughts of
everything else aside. Once we finished a book we immediately wished
for the next one. We wouldn’t have cared if Miss Collins scribbled her
notes on the back of napkins, we were eager for any insight she could
give us. It was hard to say goodbye to those characters when we came
to the end.
Reading is itself a kind of magic.
And now this week we have had to say goodbye to Maurice Sendak. I ache
thinking of all the books yet to be written, drawings still to be
sketched. But when I think of all of the children he made happy with
the books he created, I smile. I think of Little Bear and Really
Rosie, Max and those children and their way of looking at the world in
“A Hole is To Dig”–one of my very favorite books ever. I still know
many of those lines by heart: A hole is to dig and arms are for
hugging and mud is to jump in and yell doodleeedoodleedoo. And perhaps
drains are for sewers. But like Betty Smith’s Francie in “A Tree Grows
in Brooklyn,” I know that the sewer isn’t a scary place at all, for
that water runs straight to the sea.
Sometimes it’s what lies beneath, the mystery of the unknown, that
keeps us guessing and wondering. Feeding our imaginations with all
that could be possible—if you know where to look.