photo & text by nacrowe
what i always loved about the work of MAURICE SENDAK in his iconic children's picture book WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (HARPER & ROW, 1963) is his ability to present an inventive interior world of CHILDHOOD that is marked by an IMAGINATION that is truly unbridled. it marks a stage of development where fears are primal and all-engrossing since safeguards built by experience have not been scaffolded yet. consequently the joys are that much higher, untouched yet by adult conceptions like failed aspirations and disappointments. it is a pure world of childhood AMORALITY and undiluted EMOTION.
reading through SENDAK's work you cant help but take stock of how far you have ventured from this EDEN-like mindset of your early youth. you start remembering the game's you played with imaginary friends and how existentially frightening it was to be left alone in your room in the dark.
i don't mean to romanticize this period because in many ways CHILDHOOD is a frightening time both physically and emotionally, something SPIKE JONZE unquestionably hit the bulls-eye with in his 2009 film adaptation of this beloved children's book. his film showcases the EXISTENTIAL DREAD that comes with an overactive imagination and the inability to curb one's emotions. that LACK OF CONTROL can be TRAUMATIZING in the moment, something we later become numb to and dull the edges around such as we continue ever closer to death. maybe we just get better at deluding ourselves of such or maybe we just get caught up in a world of adult responsibility.
whatever the case, rereading WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE always makes me reconsider that at our heart we are all hopelessly lost in our own emotional and imaginative worlds. it is just a matter of how much that world has been coopted that really determines our AGE.
easily one of my favorite books ever. should be read again and again by children and adults of all ages.