Thank you, A. A. Milne

Workman Publishing asked me to write about a children's book I am grateful for to appear on their blog around Thanksgiving. Here's what I wrote. 

When I write, I listen to music. Not recorded music, but the rhythms and melodies the words form inside my head. It was A.A. Milne who introduced me to the idea that words can become music through his brilliant book of poems When We Were Very YoungI was only four or five when my father read them to me, and when I revisit them now, I hear his gentle voice. “James, James, Morrison Morrison, Weatherby George Dupree,” my father would chant, and I would delight at the rollicking rhythm. I sensed that my father the English professor liked this book as much as I did. The wit and warmth of Milnes’ inventive rhymes pleased us both enormously. This was our book, and at the end of that poem, we would lower our voices, as instructed, and whisper together, conspiratorially, the coded version of the first line: “J.J., M.M., W.G. Du P.” Even abbreviated, it rocked.