Sunday, March 4, 2012

Creative Shout Outs: Brian Selznick

Being deaf in one ear does have its advantages. For example, when my brother and sister and I were little, I always sat right behind the driver in the family car, with my "bad ear" to the window. Harry and Eva had to take turns -- one trip, window. Next trip, middle seat. Whoever was in the middle was smooshed on both sides, feet scrunched up by that big floorboard hump. So sad.

Another, ongoing advantage? I can block out sounds by blocking one ear. It's easy. I bury my good ear into a pillow at night. I lean my head against my hand during the day.

And now, another advantage: my very personal and heartfelt appreciation for Brian Selznick and his book Wonderstruck. It's the first book I've ever read that speaks directly to this part of my life.

Selznick's writing and illustrations are amazing. You certainly don't need a hearing loss to relate to the other losses in this story, and the ageless search for love and a place where you belong.

I read all of Wonderstruck -- 600+ pages -- in one setting. Now, it's a book designed for children and it's told in both words and pictures. So, it's not like I sat down and read War and Peace in one fell swoop. On the other hand, I have the attention span of a gnat. And my iPad was right there, waiting.

But an iPad is no match for a story that truly resounds.

P.S. I did not know the book had anything to do with Deaf culture until after I bought it and started reading. Don't you love the unexpected connections you sometimes find in books? We are all less alone than we think.

P.P.S. The Scholastic website for Wonderstruck also took me back to my younger days. During elementary school, there was concern I could lose all my hearing, so I learned lip reading and some sign language. I will now "sign off" with my name:


Jan said...

I meant to say I read it in one "sitting." Although I did stay in the same "setting." Proofread, people. (I did proof it, to be fair, but it was late at night and I was tired. Not the best time for proofing.)

Neil said...

Hi Jan,
Along those lines, I thought you'd also appreciate the personal trait/creativity combo that this new Midwestern documentary celebrates -- (In Nebraska, Jeff Koterba's practically a household name.)