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***It's Not Easy Being Green

And Other Things to Consider

by Jim Henson, the Muppets, and Friends

edited by Cheryl Henson

Reviewed October 31, 2005.
Hyperion, New York, 2005.  197 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (MCN 791.509 HEN).

Here’s a delightful and inspiring little book, full of quotations by and about Jim Henson.  I’ll simply quote a few of my favorites.

“As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy, and for some of us that world of make-believe continues into adulthood.  Certainly I’ve lived my whole life through my imagination.  But the world of imagination is there for all of us—a sense of play, of pretending, of wonder.  It’s there with us as we live.”

“A child’s use of imagination and fantasy blends into his use of creativity.  The child can use his imagination to try out whole new directions.  There are many ways of doing something.  Look for what no one has tried before; go back and question one or more of the basic ‘givens’ of a situation.”

“The most sophisticated people I know—inside they’re all children.  We never really lose a certain sense we had when we were kids.”

“I feel that almost everyone maintains a childlike quality throughout their adulthood.  One of the nice things about the puppet form is that it has the ability to communicate with this childlike side of the audience.  The personalities of the Muppet characters are really quite innocent and everyone, in some way or another, seems to be able to relate to this innocence.”

“I believe in taking a positive attitude toward the world, toward people, and toward my work.  I think I’m here for a purpose.  I think it’s likely that we all are, but I’m only sure about myself.”

“I really don’t believe that Jim could have been such an extraordinary creator if he hadn’t been such an extraordinary appreciator.”—Frank Oz

“At some point in my life I decided, rightly or wrongly, that there are many situations in this life that I can’t do much about:  acts of terrorism, feelings of nationalistic prejudice, cold war, etc.  So what I should do is concentrate on the situations that my energy can affect.”

“I know that it’s easier to portray a world that’s filled with cynicism and anger, where problems are solved with violence.  That’s titillating.  It’s an easy out.  What’s a whole lot tougher is to offer alternatives, to present other ways conflicts can be resolved, and to show that you can have a positive impact on your world.  To do that, you have to put yourself out on a limb, take chances, and run the risk of being called a do-gooder.”

“From Kermit the Frog, literally an extension of Jim, comes a life-affirming decency, a passionate belief that there are stories to tell which don’t exclude children and don’t insult adults, which don’t exclude adults but which don’t insult children, which can be outrageous and innovative without being arch or misanthropic.  There’s anarchy here, but it’s anarchy that celebrates rather than destroys.”—Anthony Minghella

And my favorite:

“I really do believe that all of you are at the beginning of a wonderful journey.  As you start traveling down that road of life, remember this:  There are never enough comfort stops.  The places you’re going to are never on the map.  And once you get that map out, you won’t be able to refold it no matter how smart you are.

“So forget the map, roll down the windows, and whenever you can, pull over and have a picnic with a pig.  And if you can help it, never fly as cargo.”—Kermit

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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