How Maurice Sendak showed me where my wild things are

Maurice Sendak

So I’m now in the process of attempting to write a children’s book for very young children, meaning those youngsters around 8-10 years old. And as I sat there in front of my screen this afternoon, praying frantically to the muse who I pay by the hour to deliver at least an opening sentence to push me over the edge of the cliff into free fall creativity (the kind of creativity that comes to the rescue just before you land on the rocks below), the only answer I received for the longest was my all-too-familiar blank screen staring back at me. It may have been laughing too, I’m not sure.

But then, just as I was prepared to engage a teasing amount of liquid creativity, you know, just enough to grease the gears, is when it came to me. Kind of a hoarse whisper at first, which made me think maybe it was one of my old drinking buddies stumbling around outside my window. But then I remembered I don’t have any old drinking buddies, so that made me realize that either the hoarse whispering was yet another voice inside my head or it was FedEx delivering the answer to my prayers.

Maurice…

Who?

Sendak…

Hey wait…isn’t that the guy…

“AND MAX, THE KING OF ALL WILD THINGS, WAS LONELY AND WANTED TO BE WHERE SOMEONE LOVED HIM BEST OF ALL.”

Where the Wild Things Are! I shouted to…well..myself, I guess. But still!

Because Maurice Sendak, in times of writer desperation for inspiration, especially when it comes to children’s books, is like a cool lake on a desert hot day. Just jump in and smile. Or like finding anything by Dr. Seuss on an empty shelf in an empty house on a quiet and lonely day. Because turning that first page sweeps lonely out the door as imagination tends to its work.

“AND HE SAILED OFF THROUGH NIGHT AND DAY. AND IN AND OUT OF WEEKS. AND ALMOST OVER A YEAR TO WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE.”

We all need a little inspiration from time to time. The key is knowing where to find it.

And now I’m off…

This is being cross-posted on Detroit Ink Publishing

 

 

 

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kaoblues
Writer and musician.

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