Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Only ten sentences total, written almost fifty years ago – and yet Where The Wild Things Are continues to capture the collective imagination. It goes without saying that Maurice Sendak’s book is a Lovemark (it’s currently sitting at #28 in the rankings).

Like all great picture books, Wild Things is high on Intimacy – it’s perfect bedtime story material after all – looking with great empathy through the eyes of a rambunctious young lad to show a world both tremendously exciting and a little scary. But it’s also a tale doused in Mystery – tapping into the powerful dream of running fearlessly into adventures much bigger than you are, and providing the iconic figure of Max in his wolf-costume, staring down the monsters.

The long awaited movie adaptation from Spike Jonze looks like it’s heading in the Lovemarks direction too. From what the trailer reveals, there’s been great thought put into the preserving the magic of the book, without grounding it in the past. And while the otherworldly landscapes and beasts bear true to Sendak’s legendary illustrations, the soundtrack songs – all rousing indie-rock anthems from the likes of the Arcade Fire and Karen O – couldn’t be more modern and they fit perfectly. Talk about past, present and future!

The creative team behind the movie have got the Participation Economy down pat. Check out the very cool fort making competition they ran - fans of all ages were invited to take up Max’s mantle and turn a humble bedroom into something much more wild and mysterious. And through a collaboration with US label Opening Ceremony, those who want to wear their Wild-Thing love loud and proud can pick up inspired shaggy coats, talon rings, and – the ultimate – Max’s wolf suit.


Elle Fagan said...

Thank you so much for reminding me that the amazing story, loaded with grand detail and treating the most sensitive issues, eloquently and fully, is expressed in only Ten Sentences.

Ten Sentences!
A marvel!
And yet, it never seems abrupt or wanting!

May we all learn to use the language so artfully, when needed.

Our word processes are pretty fancy - the way we communicate is often much more than trading words. There is a lot more going on.

We are warned that there is a time and place for keeping the number of words to a minimum, and a time to be sure to be verbally expansive. It has to do with the power of the word as it creates and supports our very health and lives - the energies needed at the moment - and more than the flavor and tenor of the effect we hope to communicate.

But I think those ten sentences in "Where the Wild Things Are" are only surpassed by the Gettysburg Address for communicating it all so economically, and yet eloquently -AND - lucky us - memorably!

Elle Fagan said...

The book's hero commands, "Let the wild rumpus start!"

Was that a precognitive statement?

Was it referring the film to come - which certainly does just that! :-)

Elle Fagan said...

The book was, certainly, a loving and entertaining opportunity to consider the subject of anger management. It was a good tool for parents as well as children.

But who would have brought the story home if it lacked the perfect charm and humor?

Your note here brought back memories of "the wild rumpus" fun we enjoyed with that book, back then, in our home, and 'childworld' matrix. The parent-child laughter-fun , coping thru a family moment - "Max -style".

I am smiling, now as then, recalling our "in-house" song and our realization and observation that , as young parents, indeed, we, too, were surely running around in a big world, "where the wild things are"! We even used its phrases in our adult world, a quick economical way to toss a cue word to one another in our busy day path.

And how the book helped us - it really served as a graceful way to freshen and support the knowledge that our love and compassion were key to helping our children navigate through the stresses and grow up well.

Few things are more important than communicating the idea that, "no"- issues in normal life are there and they will not simply go away, but "yes" we can resolve them with a fine mind and happy heart, to best success in result.

And with brave and glowing hearts held high.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this wonderful memory!

Elle Fagan said...

The intensity of Max's struggle-thru-fantasy - should help parents understand why they are NOT especially patronizing with their children.

The struggle to resolve issues and to grow in character is one mighty thing - and worthy of respect.

Without the good reward for confronting, alone, with his issue, with time and fantasy his only tools - to successful conclusion - Max's story would fallen by the wayside.

Aren't we glad it did not.

And it is the charming and entertaining style of the message that wins its entree to the world between parent and child.