I have been rearranging the living room, and in the process of organizing the shelves discovered that I seem to be missing a few books by birthday boy, Shel Silverstein. Hopefully, they are at my boys’ house. You may not be aware that Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back, was his first children’s story, published in 1963. It was a gift to me after my coming out, from a dear and intimate friend, a reminder that others, on all sides of the sexuality spectrum, would try to shape me into what they saw me as, an identity created by them to match their own stories. I think he wanted me to be aware of the danger, and to encourage me to continue to be brave, to write my own character, my own story, my own life.
Despite the enormous influence he’s had in our family’s reading time, and my own autonomy, I haven’t recorded much of Shel Silverstein’s work. It’s hard to compete with his many recordings, his playful voice and guitar. But in celebration of his birthday this September 25th, here are a few videos for the occasion.
The first is pretty much self-explanatory. The second is probably his most famous poem, and you can certainly find better readings of it these days. This was recorded years ago, quickly and slipshod, on an old laptop for those (possibly two people?) who were not familiar with it as a point of reference for the final in today’s trio, a parody, developed “Mad Lib” style, for our family’s Dad Libs feature.
For more information about each video, please check out the video descriptions on YouTube directly.