“All I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that
I love the world.”
“He was a world-class noticer.”
Roger Angell on E.B. White
“Early summer days are a jubilee time for birds. In the fields, around
the house, in the barn, in the woods, in the swamp – everywhere love and
songs and nests and eggs.”
What could be more wonderful than an evening spent listening to a lovely stream of words pour over, around, and through you? Words so simple and pure and touching and funny that sitting in an audience listening to them you feel that you and everyone else there with you are in on one of the biggest, sweetest open secrets in the world: A good story has a soul, a life of its own. And it can live on and on in the hearts of those who hear it.
E.B. White was not only a gifted essayist and stylist, he’s also the author of several beloved children’s classics: Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan. How lucky I was to have spent an evening listening to a gifted group of actors and actresses bring scenes from these enchanting stories to life. It was an event dedicated to helping to help First Book, a nonprofit created to provide new books and educational resources to children in need.
Here’s one thing I loved best about the evening: It was a celebration of words. There were book covers, charming line drawings, and a few pictures of E.B. White projected on a screen. There were actors standing up and reading and a quartet singing a couple of clever songs from the film made of Charlotte’s Web. That was it. No light shows, ginormous flashy sets, or jittery, frenetic multimedia shows. Just words – and the images they inspired. How refreshing! What a delightful evening!
Listening to E.B.’s masterful storytelling, I was reminded how important it is let a story tell itself – to give it the freedom to unfold and find its own pace. Hearing his lyrical prose is like a peering into a beautiful crystal with the sun inside it: something universal runs through it. What a gift to his readers, young and old. What an inspiration to us as we craft our own worlds from words. Write on!