TODAY is the 50th Anniversary of the beloved classic Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. First published in 1963, it has sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.
The New York Times obituary for Maurice Sendak calls Where the Wild Things Are “simultaneously genre-breaking and career-making,” describing Sendak as being “…widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche.”
One of the most talked about interviews we’ve ever done was with Maurice Sendak in 2011 shortly before he died. Sendak reflects on love, loss, and celebrating life:
I have nothing now but praise for my life. I’m not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more. … What I dread is the isolation. … There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.
- push yourself to get up before the rest of the world - start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.
2. push yourself to fall asleep earlier - start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable.
3. erase processed food from your diet. start with no lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal, then bread. use the rule that if a child couldn’t identify what was in it, you don’t eat it.
4. get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else.
5. stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything.
6. buy a 1L water bottle. start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.
7. buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.
8. strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. make your bed in full.
9. organise your room. fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. light a beautiful candle.
10. have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.
11. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.
12. message old friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. push yourself to follow through.
14. think long and hard about what interests you. crime? sex? boarding school? long-forgotten romance etiquette? find a book about it and read it. there is a book about literally everything.
15. become the person you would ideally fall in love with. let cars merge into your lane when driving. pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. stick your tongue out at babies. compliment people on their cute clothes. challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week. walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story. talk to acquaintances so they become friends.
16. lie in the sunshine. daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t a thing. open your eyes. take small steps to make it happen for you.
I don’t understand all of these posts/blogs about tips for marriage, the posts where one writer with one opinion rocks my entire news feed with info that will surely save you from divorce or a failed relationship or getting into a bad marriage. Is it rocket science to just be your true self with someone? And if that doesn’t work out just accept that it wasn’t right in the first place? Is it really that hard to say “I’m not going to settle or change simply because life is too short to be with the wrong person” and live purposefully that way? Is it really that hard to just live your life knowing that there is more to it than your Pinterest inspired wedding, or getting laid? There’s fulfillment in community, and investing in others and living unapologetically as yourself.
Life is too short to be concentrating on figuring out the solution for how you can construct and reconstruct the future. So please. Stop taking every word of “Why marriage isn’t for me” or “36 reasons I’m getting divorced next week, don’t do what I did.” Live truthfully and honestly. The right people, whether soulmates, or significant others, or friends, or roommates will stick around and everyone else who doesn’t, probably won’t matter in the long haul.