Blame The Pale Green Pants
By Scott Nicholson
People sometimes ask me why I ended up writing scary stuff (well, they also ask me why I write weird stuff, and children’s books, and thrillers, and screenplays, and comic books…)
I usually say it’s because I grew up with the Appalachian front-porch ghost story tradition, but I believe it goes back even further. I think it was Dr. Seuss.
The pale green pants with nobody inside them. I can’t quite remember having Dr. Seuss read to me, but I remember the vivid impression the good doctor made on me—the twisted, impossible geometry of the landscapes, the amazing cast of fantastic characters, and the musical and fun sound of the rhymes. I think Dr. Seuss is the best writer in the history of the English language, if for no other reason than he knew how to make words fun for kids and grown-ups.
And it wasn’t just those pale green pants and the lesson in being afraid, because I distinctly remember the ominous-sounding “Clark in the park in the dark.” And The Lorax made me a lifelong environmentalist, and The Butter Battle Book made me a peace advocate. And Seuss did it all without straining, by embedding the moral lessons in timeless stories that you could read again and again. I’ve even done my own children’s books that are influenced by his style.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be that good, but I do believe I owe it to whatever talents I have to tell meaningful stories. That’s why I never settle for simply entertaining a reader. Of course, I want the reader to enjoy the story enough to be drawn deeply into it, but I also want to share some of my beliefs about the world, but more importantly, I want the reader to feel and think and imagine.
It’s taken a while to trust that my beliefs are generous and well-intentioned. I do like to earn enough money to be able to keep writing, but I also want to inspire people to pursue their own dreams, fight for what they know is right, and take on the fears and threats both inside and out. If we can do that inside the same story, with you building it and bringing it to full life in your own imagination, then that’s nothing short of magical.
Magic does happen! And it happens in books and stories. Thank you, Dr. Seuss.
Scott Nicholson is giving away 15 percent of his ebook revenues in September! Details are at http://hauntedcomputer.blogspot.com or in his newsletter. Nicholson is author of The Skull Ring, Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, and nine other novels, seven story collections, and six screenplays.