Shel had his own view of how his life started out:
"When I was a kid—12, 14, around there—I would much rather have been a good baseball player or a hit with the girls. But I couldn't play ball, I couldn't dance. Luckily, the girls didn't want me; not much I could do about that. So, I started to draw and to write. I was also lucky that I didn't have anybody to copy, be impressed by. I had developed my own style, I was creating before I knew there was a Thurber, a Benchley, a Price and a Steinberg. I never saw their work till I was around 30. By the time I got to where I was attracting girls, I was already into work, and it was more important to me. Not that I wouldn't rather make love, but the work has become a habit.
--(Jean F. Mercier. "Shel Silverstein", Publishers Weekly, February 24, 1975).
Shel Silverstein did not really care to conform to any sort of norm, but he did want to leave his mark for others to be inspired by:
"I would hope that people, no matter what age, would find something to identify with in my books, pick up one and experience a personal sense of discovery. That's great. But for them, not for me. I think that if you're creative person, you should just go about your business, do your work and not care about how it's received. I never read reviews because if you believe the good ones you have to believe the bad ones too. Not that I don't care about success. I do, but only because it lets me do what I want. I was always prepared for success but that means that I have to be prepared for failure too. I have an ego, I have ideas, I want to be articulate, to communicate but in my own way. People who say they create only for themselves and don't care if they are published...I hate to hear talk like that. If it's good, it's too good not to share. That's the way I feel about my work. So I'll keep on communicating, but only my way. Lots of things I won't do. I won't go on television because who am I talking to? Johnny Carson? The camera? Twenty million people I can't see? Uh-uh. And I won't give any more interviews."
--Shel Silverstein, from Publishers Weekly, February 24, 1975
Shel did however give a few more interviews in his life, each of which helped to contribute insight into his convoluted thinking patterns. One example of such interviews:
Question: "Why do you have a beard?" Shel: "I don't have a beard. It's just the light; it plays funny tricks." Question: "How do you think your present image as world traveler, bawdy singer, etc. combines with your image as a writer of children's books?" Shel: "I don't think about my image." Question: "Do you admit that your songs and drawings have a certain amount of vulgarity in them?" Shel: "No, but I hope they have a certain amount of realism in them." Question: "Do you shave your head for effect or to be different, or to strike back at the long-haired styles of today? Shel: "I don't explain my head."
--(1965) from the album "I'm So Good That I Don't Have to Brag."