Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Maurice Sendak's New Book

Beloved children's book author, Maurice Sendak, (Where the Wild Things Are) was the guest on NPR's Fresh Air yesterday. The interview made me uncomfortable. I had to try very hard not to turn the station.

Why? He was so sad. Very sad and reminiscent, somewhat rambling and, at times, I think he was crying. He commented that he was in a very "soft mood" because he had just experienced the deaths of two of his very close friends.

He talked a bit about his partner (Sendak is gay) of 50 years, Eugene Glynn, and his death in 2007. Sendak is an atheist, so there is no afterlife, no opportunity to see anyone again that he loses in this life. I can see how this would make him sad. He is 83 years old, so he has seen many of his contemporaries pass away.

Sendak's first words in the interview are, "It's been a rough time. I've gotten quite old..."

An excerpt from the interview:

"I have nothing now but praise for my life. I'm not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can't stop them. They leave me and I love them more. ... What I dread is the isolation. ... 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."

About his new book, Bumble-ardy:
"When I did Bumble-ardy, I was so intensely aware of death," he says. "Eugene, my friend and partner, was dying here in the house when I did Bumble-ardy. I did Bumble-ardy to save myself. I did not want to die with him. I wanted to live as any human being does. But there's no question that the book was affected by what was going on here in the house. ... Bumble-ardy was a combination of the deepest pain and the wondrous feeling of coming into my own. And it took a long time. It took a very long time."

I was so sad when the interview was over.

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