Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Post In Which I Go Completely Off Topic. No Food, No Recipes Here...

Nothing vegan, no recipes, no pretty food porn. Stop reading, move along to another blog for today, if that's what you came for.

Today takes a slightly different path.

See, the Sprouts and I had free passes for a movie, and we'd been hanging on to them for a very long time so we could catch "Where The Wild Things Are."
And... (of course) we loved it!

Not that the movie needs any more promoting from little ol' me, it's doing very well on it's own.

But I couldn't resist a few words because I totally adore Maurice Sendak, author of the book on which the movie is based, for so many, many reasons.
First, simply because he's a lovable, curmudgeonly, reclusive, gay, Jewish, absolutely BRILLIANT children's book author and illustrator. That in itself puts him high on my fantasy list of "People I Want To Have Dinner With"!

Children's books (and their authors, illustrators and anything to do with them) are definitely my first love. My original major in college was Children's Literature, but through youthful indecision various distractions and reasons I don't now remember, my course of study eventually morphed into something else. And I have no complaints, but I recently started working a few hours a week at a charming little used-book store here in town, and I spend my time blissfully immersed in the children's section. It's reminded me all over again of the passion I have for reading, and books, and sharing stories with children... (Yes, even as much as I love cooking, if you can imagine that!!)
But I digress.

Another reason I love Maurice Sendak, though rather cliché, is because he wrote "Where The Wild Things Are"; one of my all-time favorite "read-aloud" books and one that sparks a lot of (not-surprisingly) honest and candid conversation in my classroom. Sometimes coaxing spontaneous conversation out of my special students can be a bit of a challenge, so I welcome the reactions and thoughtful commentary they tend to interject when we read this book. As a bit of trivia, "Wild Things" was first published in 1963. The year I was born. (Yes I am that old!) I have a weird habit of collecting things published/written/released the year I was born.

I love, too, that Mr. Sendak has a dark and slightly macabre side. He's not afraid to illustrate life just like it is; fascinating, full of immense and rich detail, but sometimes a bit scary, frightening and dark. He thinks kids can handle it. And I tend to agree. Life is not always a "happily ever-after" fairy tale, and I think sometimes we try to sugar-coat reality. Kids can handle real life. They have to live it, and find their own ways to deal with it, just like the rest of us do.

Not long ago, 81-year-old Mr. Sendak was interviewed for Newsweek magazine. The interview was intended to promote the film version of "Where The Wild Things Are" but no doubt wound up offending parents all over the country (I
soooo love it!) . My favorite part went like this:

Reporter: "What do you say to parents who think the 'Wild Things' film may be too scary?"
Sendak: "I would tell them to go to hell. That's a question I will not tolerate." Reporter: "Because kids can handle it?"
Sendak: "If they can't handle it, go home. Or wet your pants. Do whatever you like. But it's not a question that can be answered."
Bravo Mr. Sendak.

And since I'm on the subject, an HBO documentary "Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak" airs tonight. Check it out, directed by Spike Jonze (as was the movie) it has rumors of being Oscar-worthy. I wish I had cable!


k's mumbo jumbo said...

"Where the Wild Things Are" is on my top ten list of favorites. The girls really want to see the movie.
One of my favorite quotes in all of literature is "I'll eat you up, I love you so."

The Voracious Vegan said...

I can't wait to see that movie! Thanks for doing this post, I really had no idea the author was such a fascinating person. I think I'd like to have him over for dinner too!

Liz said...

I want to see that movie so badly! And now I can watch the doc -- thanks for the head's up!

P.S. I love an Maurice's answer to the scary question too. Just. Awesome.

Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

I can't wait to see this movie! Thanks for posting that bit of the interview. I love his no apologies approach!