Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Shel Silverstein Rememberance

This was one of those posts I referenced yesterday, that I had intended to get up over the weekend

Shel Silverstein.

Man, does that bring back memories.

Good memories ... Warm memories

Having a bevy of nieces and nephews, we would sit, day-after-day, night-after-night, reading any one of his tremendous works.

'The Giving Tree'... 'A Light In The Attic'... 'A Giraffe and a Half' ... 'The Missing Piece' ... 'Where The Sidewalk Ends' ... 'Lafcadio: The Lion That Shot Back' ... All of them ...

Sometimes, acting out the stories ... Embellishing them ... Hamming it up, of course.

And later, as an older adult, discovering the hilarious 'Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book'

Over on Open Salon (where we post, from time-to-time), I espied Skip Williamson's "Shel Silverstein", and immediately dove into it.

Williamson describes himself as "Cartoonist, writer, artist, unrepentant insurgent, publication designer, pornographer and an aggravating carbuncle on the ass of Culture", and was a Playboy Art Director, way back, when Playboy ruled the world from Chicago, that being where he met, and struck a friendship, with Silverstein.

Shel and I would talk a lot. His mind was brim full of all kinds of shit. Stuff that was always spilling out in songs and poems and cartoons and conversations. His thoughts were constantly overflowing his physical casing. His ideas were organic, had souls and needed to get out and live on their own. More often than not he'd be confronting them internally, lost in inwardly implicit conversation, deciphering the spooks and enigmas that were clawing their way out.


I got to know Shel when I introduced myself just outside my office on the tenth floor of the Playboy building. He'd been hanging around the art department talking to Kerig and Lenny. I was effusive and fawning. Nervously I darted into my office and retrieved a art-filled sketchbook. "You're a major influence on my art" I bleated.

He leafed through my book of drawings and snorted "I don't see it!"

It's hard not to want to copy the whole thing here, it's a great read.

Go over and check out Skip Williamson's "Shel Silverstein".

And, visit Shel Silverstein's website.

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