Monday, June 8, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

I remember the book, Where the Wild Things Are. I was just a child when it was first read to me. This may have been my starting point for my love of monsters. The great thing about the Wild Things was, they were not mean monsters. Sure, they had terrible claws, but they loved Max.

I wanted to be Max, for more than one reason. I was not the best-behaved little boy, so I had that going for me. I wanted them to be there, to be my friends, but I needed them to be there to protect me from the bullies that wanted to hurt me every day.

When I first saw the preview for the movie based on the book, I cried. It took me completely by surprise. I cried because it reminded me of people long gone. I cried also because I was happy. The Wild Things were THERE. They were moving. They were real. They were finally real. They had kindness in their eyes and you could see how much they love Max.

I have since seen the preview dozens of times, and my reaction to the images and music has changed. I am still very happy with the way the film looks and seeing the Wild Things moving on screen brings a huge smile to my face. What still makes me sad when I watch it is, it reminds me of when I was little and how I’ve changed as I’ve grown up. I have lost that sense of wonder and childhood innocence and that brings a tear to my eye. It is a horrible shame that as we grow up, we lose the wonder and happiness that we all had as kids. I wish that we could all remember what it was like to believe in magic and trust in our imaginations.

The other thing that makes me tear up is, I can now share the story. I can share it with my daughters. It is o.k. that I have lost that childhood innocence, because I can see in them all the wonder, happiness, innocence and joy that can be had in the world. As they grow older, I want them to believe in magic. I want them to chase fairies. I want them to know that imagination is king and there is a place Where the Wild Things Are.

I have grown up. I gained weight. I have seen evil. I have seen death. I have been betrayed. I have experienced loss. I have experienced fear. I know that the people dearest to me will die. I have made mistakes. I have had my trust shattered. I have made bad choices. I have seen how the world works. I have grudgingly become an adult and it makes me sad.

I want to protect my daughters from that, but I know that I can’t shelter them forever. I would only be hurting them if I did. The time goes by so fast. For now, I will revel in their imagination and joy and love of discovery.

The preview for Where the Wild Things Are says:

In us all, there is hope
In us all, there is fear
In all of us, there is adventure
In all of us, there is a Wild Thing

I will protect them from fear for now. They can have hope and adventure, and they can both live for a while in the place Where the Wild Things Are.


  1. You know, I just went to an outdoor screening of The Wizard of Oz and I had similar thoughts. There was a mixed audience of families and adults and I could hear the 30 or so year olds behind me singing along. Everybody applauded when the Witch died. I kind of teared up just from the experience.

    I have huge hopes for Where the Wild Things are but more than anything, I want the film to have that spirit. There's a great interview with Maurice Sendak where he talks about how he doesn't do autographs because he's seen too many kids be disappointed and freaked out meeting some old man that wrote the book they read every night. He hated to see that mystery broken for them. It says so much about him as an artist and WtWTA.

  2. I really makes me happy that movies can still be magic.

    I have huge hopes for WtWTA too, but I am being cautious with the emotional attachment I have to it. I don't want to be disappointed, but the trailer still get to me.

    I would love to meet Mr. Sendak. If only to thank him.