This time of year can really get on top of you. And worse, as someone reminded me at the school gate yesterday, “the Christmas holidays don’t count as holidays, because you come back more tired than before them.” Urgh, she’s so right.
Except this year I want to try to make that not count for me and us. I really don’t want another stressful Christmas. It helps that we’re doing it our way, and having mini Christmasses in the lead-up with our families, so that we can have the day itself to ourselves for the first time. That’s not to say we don’t love our families, it’s just nice for one year not to host anything, or to travel anywhere.
Anyway, the point of this post is that I was clearing out my inbox a few days ago and came across an email from my husband, who as an illustrator is pretty plugged into what people in the creative industry are doing, watching and talking about online.
He sent me the below incredibly touching radio interview a couple of years ago, which illustrator Christoph Niemann heard ‘one frantic Saturday’ while on the way to pick up one of his kids from a party. The interview was hosted by veteran radio host Terry Gross on the show ‘Fresh Air’ for America’s National Public Radio (NPR), and was with the then-elderly Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of ‘Where the Wild Things Are‘. He passed away about six months later.
Niemann went on to visualise the interview as the below animation, inserting Sendak’s ‘wild things’ into the traffic of the city, and his imagined renderings of the two people speaking. This was then published by the New York Times Magazine online.
Here it is:
Every time I watch/listen to this it puts everything into perspective. It reminds me of the things I’m often too busy to notice. It also makes me cry each time I hear it, but in a good way.
About the beauty of life, it’s an accomplished old man’s admission that he “cries a lot” because he loves the people who have already gone all the more because they’re no longer here. This reminds me to appreciate the people around me a bit more.
He says that it’s wonderful to be old, to have time to notice nature – his “beautiful, beautiful maples that are hundreds of years old” – and to “read the books and listen to the music”. This reminds me that I should know better than to get stressed out and overwhelmed by all the little things of life while I’m still young(ish) and healthy, to slow down and appreciate everything a bit more. Why wait until I’m old to do that?
So I wanted to share this with you. I think it’s timely because watching it again this morning has reminded me to see through the Christmas excess and stress, and enjoy all the memory-filled moments in between. Because they’re fleeting and precious.
And then beyond, to remember what wonderful, wise, “in love with the world” Maurice Sendak encouraged Terry Gross to do as they closed the interview: “Live your life, live your life, live your life.”
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