The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another, his mother called him WILD THING and Max said, I'LL EAT YOU UP so he was sent to bed without eating anything.
That very night in Max's room a forest grew and grew and grew until the ceiling hung with vines... and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max and he sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to the place where the wild things are...
I bought this book for my nephew Rafael long before he was ready and when he arrived this autumn, I still wasn't sure, but almost the first words he spoke to any of us were, "I'm goin' EAT You All Up!" And Max was already in Raf and Raf was Max.
But Max is in me too. The place of the Wild Things is the place I entered the night after my eye operation. It took over three hours and when I woke, my body was doing something very strange.
'And now', cried Max, 'let the Wild Rumpus start!'
I have a theory about why I reacted so wildly post waking from anaesthesia. Our brain doesn't completely shut down during anaesthesia, even if the CNS is paralysed, and it felt as though I was simply continuing my rumpus through those hours of desperately trying to get away from the pain. I was almost jack knifing off the bed, spasming every few seconds, then minutes, then longer passages. When my speech was less slurred I requested the lovely Irish nurse minding me to keep me in the recovery room so Mum wouldn't have to worry about this as well. Karen made me laugh by teasing me and calling me Nemo, because I was flapping about so.
Pain is an animal and I became Queen of the Wild Things that night. With nothing to numb the localised site of surgery, I was facing down something with sharp and terrible claws minute after minute for almost a year until it was morning and I saw the surgeon again and he numbed my eye for a brief, beautiful few seconds.
'Now stop!' Max said, and sent the Wild Things off to bed without their supper and Max, the King of all the Wild Things was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all. Then from all around from far away across the world he smelled good things to eat. So he gave up being King of Where The Wild Things Are...