Below is a repost from over 3 years ago when Where the Wild Things Are was about to be released in theaters and while it turned out to be a lot more melancholic and sad than I remembered in my childhood, the story still had that "magic", that eternal magic that never gets old and slices through generations. It's that same alchemy of words that all writers only dream of manifesting and harnessing at their whim in order to infuse it into their stories for a hopefully, strange kind of immortality. To be remembered for your stories, for your mind's fancies to delight generations of children for decades after you pass. Being a writer myself, that is the greatest reward, greater than any book commission or literary award. For the joy and wonder you create to be held so dear that you or your stories are not forgotten.
Upon the recent death of Maurice Sendak, I discovered many more intimate details about the man and spinner of tales that I ever knew. It made my love for him and his work increase on more profound levels as an adult than the love I had for him in my childhood. He and his family were holocaust survivors, the "hairy yet sad monsters" in Where the Wild Things Are, were imaginations based on his aunt and uncle whom loved him dearly but whom he, as a child only saw as larger than life and always wanting to smother him with kisses. He illustrated all his stories, which were always so endearing to me. The biggest surprise of all was that he was gay and lived with his partner for over 50 years. Being a child of a Polish-Jewish family made it hard for him to come out. Although, being a hugely successful writer, he too suffered from thinking he was never good enough.
So I tip my hat to you Sir Maurice, for improving the world in some tangible way. This author of children's literature born on the same day as Mickey Mouse has done just that. His magic-weaving has left me an improved person, even now as a 42 year old man with a child's heart that still remembers how his stories helped me to avoid despair and survive a difficult childhood. As he drew inspiration from other writer's and Disney's Fantasia, I have also drawn inspiration from his vision of a world not so far away.
G'bye Maurice- May your stories haunt and add wonder to our lives for years after your death.
Original Post from 10-19-2009
Take a deep breath, expand your belly with oxygen until it's full, close your eyes and think back for a moment when you were a child and how you would believe any fantastical story your siblings or friends would tell you. It was a moment of pure freedom -leaving you gasping for more. You would envision the stories in your mind and take them to your bed at night and dream the dreams that were planted in your head. I couldn't wait to get to bed to begin my new journey each night. At a young age, I was blessed to have 3 very creative siblings and a very large backyard with horses, roosters, chickens and many, many fruit trees, complete with our very own tree house. A virtual Garden of Eden for kids to roam free. In that playground, our minds were blown open to wander and wonder on anything that came to our heads. One day, we would hear stories of my eldest sister Lisa taking a ride in Wonder Woman's invisible airplane and swing on Spiderman's web over skyscrapers and the next, we would all be possessed tree-zombies on a mission to take our youngest sister, Maggie down to the depths of tree-zombie-landia. Every week was a new mission and story to play out. My favorite time was my time alone in the farthest corner of my yard that abutted a large vacant lot...the wildest, most desolate space I could access at my limited age.
There in my created reality, I would talk to God and stand on a stump, trying to bribe God with good deeds to enable me to fly. I wanted it so badly I would eagerly help my bewildered mom with all the chores and even cease bothering my younger sister for a week to see if that would finally get me my golden ticket to the sky and worlds beyond my home. I would run and jump and feel very light for seconds but never was able to fly in the same way I did in my dreams. Nothing matched the grandeur and lightness of being as in my dream-flights.
My body was dreadfully earthbound but I never stopped dreaming and now 30 years later I finally feel that magic spark inside again stronger than ever. I feel we are entering a time where the masses are beginning to leave fear and negativity behind and start to think about wondrous things beyond what we know, beyond the mundane limits of the prison of "logical thinking". I dream for a time where we can be a little illogical and loose and a little more connected to the "wild" and "where the wild things are". To rebuild our connection to Mother Earth who has been neglected for so long. To think less about mortgages, life insurance, job security and more about bugs, salamanders, M&M's, doodling and tree forts.
If there is any one thing that I believe most in this life is of the endless possibilites for wondrous and wonderful things out there and regardless if you call them myths, parnormal events, illusions, hallucinations, figments of our imagination or whatever; the names you give them do not diminish or destroy them. It only limits who are the ones that get to see and enjoy their soul-enriching beauty leaving us in awe at how small our dogmas, political, religious and economic systems are in the grander scheme of the universe and unknown number of dimensions.
I dedicate this blog to the Dreamers, the Believers, the one's that keep the possibilities of other worlds alive, enriching ours all the more. The Maurice Sendak's, Walt Disney's, J.M. Barrie's, Lewis Carrol's, Guillermo Del Toro's, Pixar Studios, Dreamworks', my personal muse -Grettel, would all leave our world bland and tasteless were it not for their eccentric musings and vision. They've given us permission to dream and to take a ride back to our youth when we were more closely aligned to the spirit world and the endless possibilities of the dreams we dare to dream, enabling us to forget how taboo it is to believe in things not yet proven.
Square away some time to take a camping trip to your nearest forest, build a fire (carefully), make up stories to tell your family and allow yourself to think when you look into the darkness that fantabulously-fun creatures ARE out there just waiting to play.
In the words of the great Maurice Sendak; "Inside all of us is ADVENTURE."
Dreamers creating a dream in the streets of Chile: