“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” – Dr. Seuss
As a kid I loved things that were different, out of the ordinary; unpredictable rhyme, unpredictable reason, things that flowed by chance, and anything that stirred my wild imagination.
I remember the day at the Tucson Public Library when I first discovered a book called “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.” Published in 1937, the story turned 77 this year. It’s about a boy who wants to impress his father with an interesting account of what happens on his way home from school. So instead of seeing the same boring old horse and wagon on Mulberry Street, the boy imagines a zebra pulling the wagon. Then as his imagination kicks in and runs wild, the zebra morphs into a reindeer, the wagon becomes a golden chariot, and then magically changes into a fancy sleigh.
From that day forward, the different rhythmic lines in Dr Seuss’ children’s books stirred my imagination again and again. I enjoyed making up songs and stories; but I had dyslexia and my language skills needed help. When I tried to speak, my words got all mixed up and people laughed at me. My dad nicknamed me ‘Dutch’ because it sounded like I was trying to speak a foreign language.
My mother worked long hours teaching me how to read and write by putting the letters and sounds together in word puzzle games. By the time I was in the fourth grade, I was reading, writing, and telling stories that others understood. I wrote a short story about my dog Brownie and his bad liver breath, and how I loved him in spite of his bad breath. The story won first place in a competition, giving me confidence to keep writing.
I recently received a fun note from a book reviewer, and it got me thinking about thinking … left and right, low and high. Rhonda, the reviewer wrote, “It was a different reading experience, but then I love different.”
I smiled at the thought. My writing style is different. It is unique.