Who knew that Shel Silverstein, author of such books as Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Giving Tree, and A Giraffe and a Half, had so much unpublished material at the time of his death? And who knew that the publisher was holding onto it?
Regardless, I was elated to read Silverstein's posthumous Every Thing On It . . . a crowning achievement to his children's trilogy of varied line-drawings and poems. The book now graces my bookshelf among his other titles, and I purchased soon enough to garner a first edition to boot.
Call them children's books if you want to, but Silverstein has always spoken to the kid inside me with his eclectic blend of insights about fears, culture, laughter and life's inherent weirdnesses and idiosyncrasies. He's my type of poet and his books are some I return to time and again. He's long since passed beyond where the sidewalk ends, but it's good to know that a writer can still speak from the grave as long as he has an ample supply of unpublished material.
Reading Silverstein again emboldened me to open up some of my own archives. I'm now trying to retool some of my own drawings and poems that I wrote to my kids years ago when they were young, impressionable, and eager to receive my insanity on a silver spoon. I found poems about colonoscopies and hemorrhoids . . . just not sure how impactful these poems were on my kids. I probably scarred them for life. But I'm not sure I can share the drawings.