Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Maurice Sendak 1928-2012

Illustrator and author Maurice Sendak died today. You may read his New York Times obituary here: Maurice Sendak, Author of Splendid Nightmares, Dies at 83 

My father enjoyed reading Sendak books to us kids, especially Outside Over There, whose protagonist, Ida, he read as "Farida," and In the Night Kitchen. I got to meet Sendak in New York City in 1998, when HarperCollins threw a "birthday party" at the Rainbow Room to celebrate 35 years of Where The Wild Things Are. When I met Sendak, I'd only expected a brief "Hello, nice to meet you" exchange, but we ended up chatting, and he introduced me to a few other people in the room before heading on to greet other guests. 

In the 2011 Fresh Air interview with Terri Gross, Sendak said,  “I’m not unhappy about becoming old . . .[it's] what must be. I only cry when I see my friends go before me. I don’t believe in an afterlife, but I do expect to see my brother again , like a dream life . . . but I am in love with the world."

 - "Maurice Sendak: On Life, Death, and Children's Lit," Interview with Terri Gross, Fresh Air, September 20, 2011

There are those poignant, reflective words. And then, of course, there is the interview with Stephen Colbert. Colbert asked, "What’s it take for a celebrity to make a successful book?” Sendak replied, “You’ve started already by being an idiot.”

I am grateful for Sendak's life, and the art that came from that life.

6 comments:

Jules at 7-Imp said...

I just tried to leave a comment, and it got eaten. Maybe by the Wild Things.

I was rambling about Sendak's brother and the afterlife. But my main point was: This is a lovely tribute, and I'm glad you got to meet him in person.

Saints and Spinners said...

Jules: Blogger rankles. When I originally published my post, Blogger refused to see "normal" font as normal, insisting that it either be teeny-tiny or way big. I was not in the mood. Thanks for leaving a comment, though-- I'm sorry the previous ones got eaten by Wild Things. Then again, maybe they ate it up because they loved it so!

Jules at 7-Imp said...

I think it was my fault, actually. I failed to type in my gmail password and all that.

What I was saying is that in the 2003 Horn Book interview, he also talks about the poignant and painful (in his words) loss of his brother. I hope he gets that dream afterlife he hoped for, though (and this all now brings Jeff Buckley's "Dream Brother" to mind, at least in title).

Kathleen said...

Oh man... what a great life! We are losing all the good ones!!!

Lone Star Ma said...

He will be missed.

adrienne said...

I didn't know you'd met him, Farida! How cool!

That Terry Gross interview with him is so moving, and that Colbert one made me laugh and laugh.