Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
Today is the birthday of the great Dr. Seuss, an author whose wacky books I grew up reading. Where would we be without the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, or Horton the elephant? Probably somewhere similar to where we are now, only not nearly as fun and inspiring.
I have liked poetry and rhyming from a young age, and Seuss' rhymes were probably my favorite, with their wacky characters added into the mix. I read most of Dr. Seuss' books as a child, of course starting with Green Eggs and Ham, and the notorious Cat. My personal favorite was always the Grinch, up until I read one of his lesser known stories, The Sneetches, when I was in my teens, and fell in love with the little yellow, star-bellied creatures (if you haven't read The Sneetches, check it out; it's very cute).
Today, in honor of Dr. Seuss, let's have some fun! Below are some facts, quotes, and a bit about how Dr. Seuss has inspired me.
Dr. Seuss Facts:
~ Theodore Seuss Geisel was born on March 2nd, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
~ He accredited his mother, who would soothe her children to sleep by chanting rhymes from her youth, with his ability and desire to create rhymes himself.
~ The first known use of the pseudonym "Seuss" were his contributions to the Jack-O-Lantern, Dartmouth College's humor magazine.
~ He attended Oxford university after graduating from Dartmouth College, in order to please his father, but was bored with his studies and toured Europe instead before he came back to the states, and began work as a cartoonist.
~ He created advertising campaigns for Standard Oil for more than 15 years.
~ He worked with the US Army during World War 2, developing a series of training movies featuring animation.
~ His first Seuss book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before being published by Vanguard Press.
~ He was asked to write a children's book using only 225 "new reader" vocabulary words - what became The Cat in the Hat.
~ At the time of his death, he had written and illustrated over 44 children's books; his books have been translated into more than 15 languages. There have also been several children's televisions specials, films, and a musical.
~ Honors include: two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award, and the Pulitzer prize.
(Information found at: http://www.catinthehat.org/history.htm)
Dr. Seuss and I
When I truly started on my publishing and writing journey, aged sixteen, the fact that Dr. Seuss' first book was rejected so many times was of great comfort to me -- and he's not the only one; many of our greatest, most beloved authors were rejected numerous times, some even after they had published a successful book. But Dr. Seuss was one of the first writers whose rejections I learned about, and when I would become down after receiving one myself, or when writing was difficult, my mom would ask me: "And how many times was Dr. Seuss' story rejected?" and I would feel better.
As a child, I loved all things weird -- and who am I kidding, I still do, to this day, love all things weird. Dr. Seuss' weird was just the right kind of weird for me, with zany characters, rhymes, and fun, but it taught me things, too. Things as a child, and things as an adult. I can look back now, and remember the weird, zany, fun books that I loved as a kid because they were weird and crazy, and always showed up when I seemed to need them most (often at the doctor's office, where there was a little table full of children's books; no one likes going to the doctor's in the first place, but it's not quite so bad when you have the Cat in the Hat to keep you company), and as an adult I can re-read them and become inspired -- not only as a writer, but as a person. I think it's important that you never lose the ability to be inspired by everything, even a children's book (many of which are really good, really uplifting, by the way, and we should probably read more often).
There is a big world out there -- a writing world, a living world, a breathing world. I am a writer, and so when I read I am inspired to write as well as live, but everyone can be inspired in different ways by good quotes and good books. We just have to keep looking, and to keep celebrating -- like celebrating today.
To wrap up, here are some of my favorite quotes from Dr. Seuss, and a bit of Seussical the Musical!