The Artwork of Michael Divine

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Where There Are Wild Things

October 28th, 2009

I love it. The drama! The controversy! Everyone is so disappointed! This isn’t how it was supposed to be! We were all gonna rumpus and stuff! But wait- there in the magical land inside the mind of a ten year old (?) are all the demons just sort of cavorting around having problems just like in real life.

O but i’m not that way, or my kid isn’t that way. They know how to deal with this stuff. Well, sure, the hippy yoga mom thinks her kid knows better but there are a million bazillion more who are just out in the driveway building a snow fort in the mound of snow left by the snow plow in the late afternoon hoping that big sister and her friends will notice and come play.

I was that kid. Cold gray wet days where the bare trees just hang and don’t even bother to move when the somewhat bitter breeze drifts through. And the afternoon is restless and I’ve made a snow fort but have no friends to share it with.

I watch a movie like Where the Wild Things Are and I see an extrapolation on a theme – the theme is very simple and not very nuanced – it’s a ten sentence children’s book. So the artist, the great extrapolator, reads into it. “Let’s do it like this,” he says. Some of us, maybe we can relate. Or we can recognize where he’s going with it. Maybe all of our entertainment doesn’t have to be escapist fantasies. Maybe our kids don’t need candy colored sing alongs that get all namby-pamby on us. Everyone has their demons inside… everyone has the characters that make up their psyche… yes, everyone has a few wild things inside.

Violet introduced me to the Round Table exercise in which you call forth the various aspects of your psyche to a meeting at your mental round table. You have them all sit down and see who gets along, who makes a truce or a deal or a bribe, who starts a fight, who feels the need to finish it. Then, with some work, with some frequent round table meetings and mediation, you work at finding some peace. You see where each persons gripe is, and why, and where it’s root is. You see who shows up to steer the ship at what time and when and why. As one progresses through these exercises, one might find the warring aspects of the psyche actually start to get along.

You might be surprised to learn (or you might not be at all) that not everyones mind is a copacetically calm pool. In fact, EVERYONE has some disagreements going on in there. They simply exist below the surface, riding the waves, causing us to act on what sometimes seems like instinct but is, instead, just habit, patterns. It might cause you to bite someone’s shoulder when you’re ten. And then, when you’re thirty, you just snap at someone when the same button gets pushed, biting their proverbial head off.

I know everyone was rooting for Max – yeah! when he goes away it’s gonna be great! He’s gonna be king! there’s gonna be a wild frickin’ rumpus. And then, we get there, and it’s just like home. Cause wherever you go there you are.

Then the masses gripe: well, fuck, if I was gonna write this story then there would have been a wild frickin’ rumpus for sure. But you know what, if you don’t have any choice as to how it gets written, if it just unfolds without a script and the various aspects of your psyche just come to life and you all go at it together, kind of like a kids version of the classic “Jacob’s Ladder”, if that was the case, you might find it to be a little more intense than you expected.

And, when it was over, you might want to be where someone loved you best of all… and hope to smell good things to eat… and maybe want to get back home and get back to that work that we all are doing. And then, maybe chocolate cake added into the mix wouldn’t be so bad.

The Artwork of Michael Divine

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