My mother read to me every night when I was little. Story books, picture books and later chapter books with characters I still carry in my heart. Few have held my hand through troubled times as often as young Max though.
On Tuesday, the world lost Maurice Sendak. I say it that way because it really is a loss for the world. He was a master storyteller and a gifted illustrator. With his characters and stories, he touched generations of young people, and inspired their imaginations.
Where The Wild Things Are taught me so many lessons. I find my own Wild Things in my daily adventures, and though I miss them when they are gone, I am always happy to come home to my hot supper and the warm embrace of my family.
My Twitter and Tumblr feeds have been overrun with memories and interviews of Sendak since the news broke that he had died. His gods were literature. His favorite fans were the children he entertained. News of his passing was so sudden and impactful that NPR’s Fresh Air changed the entire plan of their daily show to honor his memory and flooded their tumblr account with quotations and memories of his greatness.
The image in my mind, of a little boy in a wolf costume being followed by Wild Things through a fantastic wooded glade, will always remind me to leap into opportunity and adventure even when it’s scary, even when I don’t know how it will turn out. Because if you don’t reach for, and grasp, every opportunity you get, you can’t possibly really be living at all, can you?
Thank you, Mr. Sendak, for bringing Max and his Wild Things into my life. I live a life of adventure and hope, partly thanks to your stories. I start a wild rumpus whenever possible, and I’d probably have eaten your postcard too.