I love me some Maurice Sendak something fierce, and if you’re not familiar with him, I encourage you to do a quick Google search. You will find a man whose work was groundbreaking when Where the Wild Things Are was first published in 1963. Delving into the darker side of childhood, Max and his wild things struck a chord with this generation and they, in turn, passed the book to their children and so on. Mr. Sendak was always careful not to sugar coat childhood truths in his work — or maybe that isn’t right. I think he purposely dove into the murky waters of growing up.
“Children are tough, though we tend to think of them as fragile. They have to be tough. Childhood is not easy. We sentimentalize children, but they know what’s real and what’s not. They understand metaphor and symbol. If children are different from us, they are more spontaneous. Grown-up lives have become overlaid with dross.”
This interview is one of the more somber I’ve read or listened to with the author, something that seems sort of out of character for him, which makes it all the more poignant.
“I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more…There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.”
Mr. Sendak passed away on May 8, 2012.
“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.”
I also recommend these interviews with Stephen Colbert: