“The night Max wore his wolf suit, and made mischief of one kind…and another…his mother called him WILD THING!”
Max, the star of Maurice Sendak’s well known children’s book, was a WILD THING who did whatever he wanted. He wasn’t wild in the style of “Wild Thing…You Make My Heart Sing” or wild as in “Girls Gone Wild”. That kid Max was wild because he was a bit of a Freudian Id. He knew how to express his feelings and to vent his energy. He knew how to roar his terrible roar and to gnash his terrible teeth. And he even knew how to chase his dog with a fork! (In modern times, however, we don’t think of that last one as simply being wild. Instead, we call it behavioral problems and it frequently earns a visit with the child-study team!) But impulse-control issues aside, Max did know how to let loose when he needed and again, he did what he wanted to do!!
As an adult, I sometimes envy Max. There are times when life is frustrating or sad…or I am angry or cranky….or I am burned-out from a busy and stressful life.
And during those times, I sometimes want to step away from the real world and into a world where I am accountable ONLY to myself. I want to step away from the real world where I have to be polite and professional, even if I want to stomp up and down and shake my fists. The real world where I have to smile even if I want to yell… or cry. The real world where I have to get up early and press my clothes for work, even if I want to sleep and play all day. Like Max, I want to find a world of my own…and get lost there.
So how do those of us who are ANCHORED in this real world get to let our wild or creative side out? How do we vent our positive AND negative energies? How do we express ourselves and soothe our nerves?
Obviously, societal convention prevents me from running through the woods, hanging from trees and howling at the moon, like Max. In fact, in my town, that kind of activity quickly gets you a psychiatric workup at the community hospital and a hefty dose of Haldol.
But, like Max, I DO have my imagination. And I can use my imagination and artistic skills in a positive way. In fact, I have found that a good hour of creating or crafting seems to relieve my stress, soothe my nerves, and bring back my focus quite well. And I end up with something beautiful to show for it, when stomping my feet would only wear down the soles of my shoes!
Besides, Max learned quickly that stomping around and thinking only of himself did not really work out. After all, he didn’t really want to be in his own world. Like me, he wanted to be “where someone loved him best of all!”… And that place is the real world! People have a hard time loving us if we are chasing the dog with a fork!
So check out my latest ceramic coaster sets, made from an old damaged book that deserved better. I created these during a stressful and difficult week and the entire time I worked on them, I kept yelling out in the voice I imagined would come from young Max, “Let the wild rumpus start!”
So if you have stress or energy to burn, find a way to let your own wild rumpus start. But please keep it safe and legal! I don’t want any calls from the psych ward or police station!