Monday, October 26, 2009

Thoughts on Where the Wild Things Are

Let me get this out of the way right now: Where the Wild Things Are is indisputably a well crafted and visually stunning piece of cinema. It has a killer soundtrack, great acting and virtually unparalleled use of special effects so realistic that it's mind boggling. I've already read a ton of reviews and thoughts about this film (check out this and this if you haven't read them already) that have great ideas to share but in what I've read so far, no one has mentioned something that really struck me in the film. 


This is, in my opinion, the most underrated character in the entire film. While Max is our main character and Carol our other big player here, Alexander is almost never the focus of anyone's attention. The question I'd like to ask is: why not? For those of you who are older siblings, you may have a clue as to where I am going with this. Alexander is clearly a needy critter- always doing something to be noticed by someone, anyone, and could easily be seen as a nuisance. As a matter of fact, in introducing the Wild Things to Max says "That's Alexander, he wants attention. Don't give him the satisfaction."  

It's actually amazing to realize how much screen time he really has in the film- let me tell you, it's a lot more than I originally thought it was during my first viewing- but a majority of his screen time demonstrates his inability to garner any amount of respect or importance among the Wild Things. Alexander is the bottom of the totem pole without question. Then to make things worse for himself, whenever he seems to be particularly upset, Alexander lashes out at Max with a sarcastic comment. Take for example his line "Gee, you're the best king ever. You've changed everything" when KW decides that she is going to leave the Wild Things for good after the dirt war that Max insists on. Overall Alexander is whiny, attention seeking and insecure. Not the easiest of characters to love. 

But is Alexander any worse than a younger sibling who's feeling left out? Don't we all just want that reassurance from our families and friends every now and then that we are a valued and loved member? That people pay attention and hear our voice among the madness that is daily life?

When I first saw this movie, I could not get over how heartbroken I felt for Alexander. Of course I related to Max, Carol & KW easily, but Alexander was something else. It felt like I was watching myself on screen when I've been the most insecure and desperately seeking comfort.  I felt like screaming at all the Wild Things and begging them to look at the price of their neglect. Haven't we all known someone, or worse, been someone who was avoided or ignored on the playground? Who are they, (or I), to judge someone else to be inferior and not give them the time of day?

Where the Wild Things Are is undoubtedly used as a vehicle for many different life lessons for us all which I have barely touched on here. I urge you all though to:

1. Go see this movie. Take your friends, spouse, parents, kids, etc.
2. Gush about the high caliber nature of the film. 
3. Think about what you saw, really chew it over for a couple of days, & see what you come away with from the minuscule to the momentous and everything in between.

4. Talk it over with people & apply it to real life scenarios. 

Personally, I know that I was reminded of the power that we as individuals hold over the lives of others and how our interactions shape these lives. Unchecked, we all have the ability to tear someone down and make them feel like the most insignificant of characters or we can do what we all ultimately know we should and choose to treat others like we long to be treated. Like they are valued, important, special, welcome, talented & loved

Thankfully we know that no matter how insignificant or lost or alone we are, God hears you. 

In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. _ 2 Samuel 22:7

Ask yourself- "who is my Alexander & how have I been treating him?" We are all still Wild Things at heart; the trick is to learn how to become a reformed Wild Thing and place others before yourself.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blerg. I hate colds.

Hello again. So here I sit at my desk trying in vain to complete the preparations for tomorrow's lesson fighting off a nasty cold that has taken up residence in my body. My head is pounding and I feel as though I have lost 2 out of my 5 senses. But all will be well.

Today I was seriously entertained and perhaps even slightly derailed by this. I urge you all to go and check it out in the name of fun and mustaches!

Here is what I am thankful for today: I am thankful for steaming hot cups of tea in homemade mugs that are meant to aid the getting better process. I am truly blessed to have such talented hands to craft things just for me and a sweet husband who listens to my incoherent grumblings without complaint.

Tomorrow, dear ones.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Recently, I've found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with the situations that I find myself in. Take for example, Tuesday night. I am a tutor for a first generation college bound high school student in the area. We meet weekly to go over how classes are going, any homework that he or she may have questions on, discuss what's going to be necessary to get in to college, and basic life skills. But for some reason, my person does not want to have anything to do with me despite the fact that we worked together last year. Really. I can't even get basic eye contact or more then a "yes," "no," "maybe," or "I don't know" response from any question that I ask. The kid doesn't show me the assignments that need to be done or bring her materials so my hands are tied. Tuesday the same old routine started; I came in, said hi and was ignored. The student was working on homework but wouldn't show it to me or explain what it was. I tried unsuccessfully to get the kid to talk for a half an hour with no results. Then I saw the progress reports. I saw red. The kid's failing 2 classes, has a D and a C in another and still has the nerve to not bring the necessary materials and say that there is nothing to do and I'm stuck sitting here being ignored.

So things are bad. I say that I'm tired of watching the work that the student is doing go unnoticed and that there is no way the grades can reflect it because the homework's not getting turned in. Then I point out that the assignments that are turned in have generally received good marks. Then I said these words "I honestly don't know how to help you. You're keeping me out and I can't help you if this is how you want it to be."

I've never felt more utterly useless or unnecessary as I did in that moment, potentially more so because this is what I'm trained to do and what I studied in school. I'm mad at the kid, mad at the supervisor who insists that my student is doing fine and that there's not a problem and mad at myself for being so caught up in this mess. But how could I not loose it?

It's not just Tuesday night either. I find myself getting angry on behalf of others, my husband in particular. I hate seeing him getting pushed around between work and school and I hate seeing other people who should be able to identify what is taking place before their eyes not recognize the stress that they are placing on his already massively overburdened shoulders.

It's human nature to want to shirk out of your own responsibilities but why do we always forget that in doing so, we effectively throw someone else under the bus? Is that fleeting feeling of relief truly worth it when we are able to understand that all we have done is to burden another?

I am working on my temper- I've nowhere near perfected it- but I am consciously trying to not let it interfere with my interactions with others. That being said, I wonder if there is a difference between frustration and true anger. What if I'm justified in getting angry? What if it's on behalf of someone else? What if it's not for personal gain? What am I supposed to do then?

I once heard that anger is God's way of getting his people to react against injustice and actually do something about it. If that's the case, what should I be doing? I want so badly to go into these situations, both guns blazing, acting first and asking questions later but I can't and that feeling leaves me feeling even more frustrated and helpless than before. I just have to take on my own responsibilities and trust that God will take care of the rest. Unfortunately that is not the easiest option for me, (let's just say I have a few trust issues).
A smattering of life experiences, insight, random internet finds and anything else that comes to mind as I'm posting. Sometimes funny, sometimes true, sometimes just ridiculous, it's a little bit of everything- from my perspective.