Awareness of mortality can bring joy, and rage about what’s going on in the world is all right. I am exploring both of those responses in the last interviews with illustrator Maurice Sendak.
One moment he’s speaking of the love he feels for the leaves outside his window, another moment excoriating the ruin Rupert Murdoch has wreaked upon the world — I agree with that!
I feel rich discovering him as if he were my new grandfather. His acceptance of aging and dying, his understanding of how suffering can be of value are all there, in his warm raspy voice. He had a 50-year relationship with a man that his parents never knew about. Most of his family were murdered in the Holocaust.
“I refuse to lie to children,” he said.
And — writing is a hopeless obsession for him as it often feels to me.
“I’m totally crazy, I know that. I don’t say that to be a smartass, but I know that that’s the very essence of what makes my work good. And I know my work is good. Not everybody likes it, that’s fine. I don’t do it for everybody. Or anybody. I do it because I can’t not do it.”
Here is the Guardian interview with him, http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/oct/02/maurice-sendak-interview
and here, supposely, a link to a short video from the New York Times, but somehow WordPress isn’t letting me upload it.
Thanks to my friend in Albuquerque, Fred Herman, whose son David brought Sendak to my attention.