Maurice Sendak died today. The author/illustrator of books such as Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen wrote some of my favourite books when I was younger, and his stories still mean a lot to me (as I’m sure they do to a lot of CampusCalm readers, and their parents). But just the fact that I enjoyed his work isn’t the reason I’m writing about it here; it’s the fact that Sendak’s books taught me some lessons that I still find relevant today, especially a few that are definitely in line with this blog’s objectives of relieving stress and being perfectly imperfect!
Sendak’s most famous protagonist, Max of Wild Things, creates a whole world out of his imagination. At the end of his adventure, when he feels homesick, he goes home where his dinner is waiting for him. One of the best things about Sendak’s stories is that they’re children’s books, but they aren’t just for kids (something else I love is that even though Where the Wild Things Are is about a little boy going on an adventure, I’ve never heard it called a “book for boys”). I can relate to Max’s journey because it shows the importance of using your imagination, and because it equally shows the importance of being able to change your mind. Sendak was known for the dark tone of his stories, so Max isn’t a perfect angel, but instead he is perfectly imperfect, just like us.
However, I think the best thing about Where the Wild Things Are, and the thing that strikes me most about it now, as a college student, is how close Max’s stress-relieving technique is to mine. Look, I know this might sound like a stretch, but listen. When Max leaves his home he is angry, and he works out his anger through creativity. It’s like doing yoga to wind down after a stressful day, or painting or writing or anything that helps you keep your calm. So next time I feel stressed out, I’ll think of Max: I need to calm down, but first “Let the wild rumpus start!”
– Lauren Mateer
LeadHer™ Intern, Campus Calm™
Learn more about Lauren here.