Saturday, October 17, 2009

How Terrible Love Can Be

It didn’t make much sense to me then, what Gnut was going through, but after Pila and me had our little twins, and we put a family together, I got an understanding of how terrible love can be. You wish you hated those people, your wife and children, because you know the things the world will do to them, because you have done some of those things yourself. It’s crazy-making, yet you cling to them with everything and close your eyes against the rest of it. But still you wake up late at night and lie there listening for the creak and splash of oars, the clank of steel, the sounds of men rowing toward your home.

I saw Where The Wild Things Are last night. It's not that the movie disappointed me in any way; I enjoyed it. But I'm didn't leave me with the optimistic feeling I'd expected it would. Being a kids' movie, I thought it would be tempered with melancholy, but, ultimately, one of those renew your faith in humanity kind of flicks.

And this is not to say that the ending isn't positive. We should feel hopeful seeing Max return home to his mother, supper on the table, his last tantrum forgiven. But I couldn't shake the Wild Things themselves from my head. In the film, the Wild Things function as your standard dysfunctional family. They have good times and bad. They love each other, they fight each other, and, occasionally, they do things so horrifying we wonder why people cause so much pain for the people they love.

The whole film reminded me of Wells Tower's fantastic short story, "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned," quoted above. It got me thinking about how we can do such terrible things to people we love. To our friends, to our families, and, even, to people we don't know.

In the story, Harald, the narrator, is right. It is crazy-making, trying to be good in a world where so many things go bad. A world where we do the worst things of all to the people we love the best. And like him, I didn't sleep well last night. The scariest thing about it is that I don't have to fear hordes of marauding vikings or clawed Wild Things.

(image via

No comments: