Writer’s Quote Wednesday // Shel Silverstein

Hello there, and welcome to another installment of Writer’s Quote Wednesday, a weekly event run by Colleen at Silver Threading. Every Wednesday bloggers share their favorite quotes to motivate and inspire one another to keep working towards our goals. If you are in need of a midweek pick-me-up I urge you to check it out! My contribution for the week is from the iconic poet and children’s book author, Shel Silverstein.

SsilversteinSheldon Allan “Shel” Silverstein was born on September 25, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. He began writing and drawing at a young age. He grew up in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago and attended Roosevelt High School and, later, the University of Illinois, from which he was expelled. He then attended Chicago Academy of Fine Arts when he was drafted into the United States Army.

Silverstein studied music and established himself as a musician and composer, writing songs including “A Boy Named Sue,” popularized by Johnny Cash, and Loretta Lynn’s “One’s on the Way.”

He is best known as the author of books of poetry for young readers. His first children’s book, Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back, published in 1963, is both funny and sad. It was followed by The Giving Tree, a moving story about the love of a tree for a boy. Silverstein has said that the book was difficult to get published. Everyone loved it but they found it both too short and too sad.

My personal favorite is his Where the Sidewalk Ends. I read it when I was very young and while some of the poems sound like nonsense, some of them really made me think. I think Silverstein played a small part in me becoming the kind of person I am today. For that I am grateful.

All of Silverstein’s books are worth a read. He illustrated them all and each has a bit of serious and silly.They are wildly popular, having been translated into more than 30 languages, and have sold over 20 million copies.

On May 10, 1999, Silverstein died at age 68 of a massive heart attack in Key West, Florida.

He is buried in Westlawn Cemetery in Norridge, Illinois.

“Never explain what you do. It speaks for itself. You only muddle it by talking about it.”

— Shel Silverstein

A few good things have been happening with my writing efforts lately and I have started to want to tell more people about it. When I first told my friends and family that I wanted to be a writer they all thought it was an amazing idea. Some were even jealous that I had the courage to try such a thing. It has been a while since then and they are anxious to see what my efforts have come to. They don’t understand that I am learning right now and these things take time.

So I stopped talking about it, so that they would stop demanding to see some results.

Lately I have  started feeling the urge to share more. I guess I want to brag a bit and prove that what I do isn’t all for nothing. The thing is, whenever I try to explain what I do, and what I want to do, it feels like the words take all the magic out of it. The explanation of why I blog, how I blog, and what I’d like this blog to become mean next to nothing to people who don’t blog themselves.

Trying to explain what I’d one day like to do means only slightly more. I have many ideas, I just haven’t settled on one yet. I talk of writing novels, comic books, and collections of essays. I talk of zines, and literary journals, and short stories. Everyone agrees these are wonderful ideas, and they urge me to live my dream, but I can tell they do not share my enthusiasm. Whenever this happens I feel my own passion lessened too. I feel doubt creeping in.

I have learned that explaining does no good, people need to see to understand. Showing is much more exciting than telling. I want my work to speak for itself. So I have come to a point where I want to start letting those close to me read the things I write. I want to let my work speak for itself. I want my loved ones to see that what I am trying to do is serious. I want them to understand that I am working to hone a skill and I hope that skill might become fulfilling work for me one day.

I think it’s time I let them in and let them help. Some fresh eyes might be a good idea. A new chance for feedback and a new chance to improve. One day I’d like everyone to read what I have written and I have to learn to be comfortable with my closest friends and family becoming my readers too.

Original image via Pixabay


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