I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”
My wife bought me The Complete Calvin and Hobbes for my birthday. Ten years of my childhood, beautifully rendered, and packed into a slipcase. I keep trying to explain it to friends that didn’t read it, and I always fall back on Walt Whitman as a point of comparison because, as an English Major, I am too much of a raving dork to find something accessible or popular to use.
But Whitman-esque remains the only way I can succinctly capture Bill Watterson’s genius (crutch though the comparison might be). It is the great celebration of childhood. It revels in the blissful ignorance of youth. It makes imagination real. It is honest and poignant without being saccharine. Even if you didn’t read it as a child, Calvin and Hobbes is even more worth the read now than ever.
I tore through the first volume (of four) over the break and I am deliberately holding back so that I don’t read the rest too quickly. George R. R. Martin has being doing an admirable job of keeping me busy in the meantime, but there is something jarring about going between wistful remembrances of imaginary tigers and graphically described medieval warfare.