I’m late. I should have posted this yesterday, but now it is today and here I am a day late. If I didn’t use the second sentence to explain the first two words of this paragraph, I wonder if you would know what I meant. Maybe, if you’re a close follower of this blog and missed me yesterday; yeah right, I wish. Otherwise, you might speculate about in what way I am late. Without explanation, you might visualize a madman with a watch and top hat as he rushes about, or maybe a young woman as she broaches a difficult subject with her boyfriend. From a darker palette, you could illustrate a poor soul who realizes they can’t move due to rigor mortis. In the latter situation, the person is often described today as having “passed”.
“Passed”, I really question that portrayal of life cessation when it euphemizes an obviously much more dramatic event. If you peacefully go to sleep and never wake up, then, OK, it’s reasonable to say your soul has “passed” from this life to the next. However, it’s lame and in denial to apply it to someone who was dropkicked into the next world when obliterated by an eighteen wheeler, knifed seventy-two times or separated from their one and only head by … you get the picture. I find it’s easy to digress when writing.
My wife suggested the title of this piece when she recalled a book, Wheels! by Annie Cobb and illustrated by Davy Jones (still widely available), that our children read as toddlers. Our copy was packed away with our kids’ books and Barb was able to put her hands right on it. Part of a Random House series called “Early Step into Reading Books”, it is true to its introductory note of being designed for “…preschoolers and kindergartners who are just getting ready to read.” Self described as being “…packed with rhyme, rhythm, and repetition”, it beautifully bridges visual and verbal.
I showed it to my son, now in his early twenties, and he remembered immediately, “Yeah, it’s like my favorite book.” He thumbed through it, saying “You can tell we liked it, look how ratty (he meant worn) it is.” and stopped at a two page spread showing cars and trucks, all sans wheels, stranded right where they were on an interstate interchange, and declared it was his favorite picture. The words accompanying that scene are “What if there were NO wheels? How would people go?” which made me think of a simile “What if there were NO words? How would people write, read, speak or KNOW?”