Is There a Light in Your Attic?

“Remembering the Works of Shel Silverstein.”


I’ve made it a habit to write on the forgotten classics of yesteryear. As of lately, however, I’ve only put the spotlight on some of the greatest movies that I’ve had the chance to enjoy when I was younger. I definitely think that it’s important to look back on older creative works; though, this should definitely include every field: movies, books and video games alike. 


Sheldon Alan “Shel” Silverstein was an American poet and artist who’s probably best remembered for his unique illustrations which were paired alongside insightful bits of prose. His poetry would range from darkly comedic commentary to colourfully goofy ramblings intended for children. 


The most famous of his works is undoubtedly The Giving Tree (1964), which is timeless, to say the least. When I was growing up, however, my parents gave me two copies; Falling Up (1996) and A Light in The Attic (1981). 


The distinct front covers of both books is something that has stuck with me over the years. The poems themselves, upon looking back on them, have actually caught me off guard.


You see, a few weeks back I took a trip to Zia Records on Thunderbird with one of my friends; while we were searching around an aging copy of A Light in The Attic caught my eye. I immediately dropped everything else and bought the book, flipping through it when I got home.


Inside the back cover of the book, a few words were inscribed: “Christmas 1991 from Mom.” 


That alongside the poems really got me thinking. I was reading through a piece of history that, in of itself, was in many ways the pinnacle of childhood wonder and creativity. Of course when I was a toddler the work never meant much to me, but as of now I’ve come to see Silverstein’s efforts as genius. 


With age comes perspective, and with that perspective comes the ability to fully appreciate the true nature behind the rhymes. They’re all very simple, but they each harbor a reflective tone and display aspects of the man’s mentality. In fact, I found myself enjoying these quippy poems more than just about anything I’ve had to read in any of my English classes (with no offense directed towards my instructors). I recommend reading some of the samples you can find online, my favorite poem of his being “Reflection.” 


There’s not much more to say on the matter; I just thought that it would be something interesting to bring to light. It’s interesting to see how much things can change with age, that idea being another thing that I’ve touched on in previous works of mine. In all honesty, it reminds me of the experience which is going back and watching childhood favorites while simultaneously starting to pick up on all of the adult humour sprinkled throughout. 


Taking the time to enjoy Silverstein’s work has opened my eyes to the intrinsic value in such simplistic scribblings. It has also worked to give me a bit of a creative boost for the holiday season, something that definitely doesn’t hurt. 


So I’ll ask now for you to pose yourself a question: “Is there a light in the attic?” 


The poem from which the indicated book derives its title has always had a blurred meaning to me; I’ve never been able to decipher it. Yet there’s not a bone in my body that wants to look it up online, as to not spoil the mystery and bizarre nature of it all. I’m asking the question now, though, as a call for the re-invigoration of one’s creativity. 


I encourage the rhyme and alliteration-abled among us to start jotting down little bits and pieces that might come to mind, if only for fun. I’m also posing this idea due to the obligations of plugging for the school newspaper (please send us your absolutely, undoubtedly and positively breathtakingly amazing work to be shared on the Ridge Review at any given time.) 


“I like to write, for all who choose 

To read what’s on the Ridge Review.

In doing so, I’ve nothing to lose, 

If me and Shel can do it, you can too!” – Me just now.