Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Brian Jacques died. A moment of silence to remember the man who was able to make every child (and adult) feel they were the only reason he created that vast Redwall world.
I don't know how many of you visited All for Kids Books and Music but if you'd ever been, you'd have seen the event room and its walls full of art and words from all of the visitors who'd ever presented to us. Brian Jacques' signature was the very first one; big and black on a wide, white drywall'd wall.
He came and spoke to many children that first event, the very first event we'd had since moving to our new space which included an Event Room. Taking a couple of ciggie breaks, and signing everything we asked him to, he saved a few of the saltier stories about his life for the after-event while his wife and the staff sat laughing and handing him books. When he was done, he said something about how something needed to be done about the blank wall and asked "Shall I sign it?" And that was that. A tradition was born. We found some not too dry markers and he stepped up to the middle of that wall and with a flourish put his name smack dab in the middle, a little like John Hancock's. It was big and bold and all the other authors after signed around his name, eventually filling every open space, the inside of soffits, the door frames, the ceiling and moving out of the room into the store itself.
He came back a few more times just to say hello and to slide another little note onto the wall: Il Ritorno. I return. He was a marvelous man to listen and talk to, someone who never thought there was a difference in writing for kids or adults, that if the story was a good one, it was a good one for all. He changed a lot of lives, Brian did. Children, especially boys, would read his very thick, very small print, books straight through, surprising their parents and teachers, because the story was so good and Brian said they could. Kids still find themselves traveling through Redwall into the rest of the world.
Travel well, Brian. Eulalia!