Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Wonderstruck" Meeting My Childhood Hero, Brian Selznick

If you are anything like me, being excited is not good for you. I am sure many people can keep their excitement to a reasonable level, but I am not one of them. When it comes to excitement, I either feel nothing, or I am 10/10 on the excitement scale, and slowly exhaling into a paper bag. 

There weren't paper bags in the bus to meet Brian Selznick. But there were lovely clouds outside the window. I hoped this was the universe's sign that I would not need a paper bag. Or, I would find a very nice paper bag in Milwaukee, the sturdy kind that can hold hoagie sandwiches. 

I was first introduced to Brian Selznick's drawings by my grade school librarian. She knew I loved to draw, and I did not take art lessons. I remember one day I came into the library and she told me she had a surprise waiting for me. I was confused, but when I opened the book, I saw it was called The Invention of Hugo Cabret. You can imagine my surprise, and my joy.

Here's what I saw:

From that moment on, I had a new art teacher. His name was Brian Selznick. My art teacher named Brian Selznick did not even know he had an art student, but it still worked all the same. I would look at his drawings for hours. I tried to recreate eyes, poses, hands, landscapes. His art taught me how to draw. After my aunt passed, he became the art teacher I so desperately needed. 

He also became a voice that told me it was okay to be different. It was okay to make your own family. 

When I met Brian Selznick, he came up to me and said, "Hi, I'm Brian."

I think I just stared at him and said, "I know...."

*Forty seconds later, my brain began to work, and we ended up having a lovely conversation. Our heroes are just people, after all. It was just a wonderful feeling to know my hero was a good person in real life.

Photo credit: @MrSchuReads--I stole this from you! 
I was able to ask him how he made his excellent dragon in his book trailer for The Marvels. I was also able to tell him that he was my art teacher when I did not have one, and that his books meant a lot to me. It felt good. It was the gift of thanks, ultimately, I wanted to give him. Books have a massive impact on the lives of kids. Somewhere, when I talked to him, I still felt like that small kid who is learning it is alright to be me. Today, I still feel like I am learning it is worthwhile to search beyond the ordinary. Why?

Well, there's extraordinary people and life experiences waiting for me.

And for you, too.

Thank you, Brian Selznick,


P.S. Special thanks to Mr. Schu (@MrSchuReads) and Scholastic for this opportunity. 

*Approximately; could have been longer. Real-time does not exist on the 10/10 excitement scale. Ex: Youtube search "sloth lady on the Ellen Degeneres show."