Thursday, June 22, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Maurice Sendak (1928 – 2012)


American writer and illustrator of children's literature.
Maurice Sendak
Art has always been my salvation. And my gods are Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Mozart. I believe in them with all my heart. And when Mozart is playing in my room, I am in conjunction with something I can't explain — I don't need to. I know that if there's a purpose for life, it was for me to hear Mozart. Or if I walk in the woods and I see an animal, the purpose of my life was to see that animal. I can recollect it, I can notice it. I'm here to take note of. And that is beyond my ego, beyond anything that belongs to me, an observer, an observer.
Sendak quotes
I often went to bed without supper 'cause I hated my mother's cooking. So, to go to bed without supper was not a torture to me. If she was gonna hurt me, she'd make me eat.
Sendak
My big concern is me and what do I do now until the time of my death. That is valid. That is useful. That is beautiful. That is creative. And also, I want to be free again. I want to be free like when I was a kid … Where we just had fun. What I mean by this is I've had my career. I've had my success. God willing, it should have happened to Herman Melville who deserved it a great deal more, you know? Imagine him being on Bill Moyers' show. Nothing good happened to Herman Melville. I want to see me to the end working, living for myself. "Ripeness is all." Now, interpreting what ripeness is our own individual problem. … So, what is the point of it all? Not leaving legacies. But being ripe. Being ripe.




Sendak Maurice quotes
I wanted my wild things to be frightening. But why? It was probably at this point that I remembered how I detested my Brooklyn relatives as a small child. They came almost every Sunday, and there was my week-long anxiety about their coming the next Sunday... They'd lean way over with their bad teeth and hairy noses, and say something threatening like "You're so cute I could eat you up." And I knew if my mother didn't hurry up with the cooking, they probably would.
Sendak Maurice
I wasn't gonna paint. And I wasn't gonna do ostentatious drawings. I wasn't gonna have gallery pictures. I was gonna hide somewhere where nobody would find me and express myself entirely. I'm like a guerrilla warfare in my best books.
Maurice Sendak quotes
An illustrator in my own mind — and this is not a truth of any kind — is someone who so falls in love with writing that he wishes he had written it, and the closest he can get to is illustrating it. And the next thing you learn, you have to find something unique in this book, which perhaps even the author was not entirely aware of. And that’s what you hold on to, and that’s what you add to the pictures: a whole Other Story that you believe in, that you think is there.
Maurice Sendak
He is, at heart, a curmudgeon, but a delightful one, with a vast range of knowledge, a wicked sense of humor and a talent for storytelling and mimicry. … He spends his days pondering his heroes: Mozart, Keats, Blake, Melville and Dickinson. He admires and yearns for their “ability to be private, the ability to be alone, the ability to follow some spiritual course not written down by anybody.”
Mr. Sendak is quick to insist that a vast distance stands between his own accomplishments and theirs. “I’m not one of those people,” he said. “I can’t pretend to be.”
Still, he has the feeling that “I will do something yet that is purely for me but will create for someone in the future that passion that Blake and Keats did in me.”
What he has failed to consider, though, is that he may already have.
Sendak Maurice quotes
And when he came to the place where the wild things are, they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws till Max said, "Be still" and tamed them with the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once. And they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all and made him king of all wild things.
Sendak
We've educated children to think that spontaneity is inappropriate. Children are willing to expose themselves to experiences. We aren't. Grownups always say they protect their children, but they're really protecting themselves. Besides, you can't protect children. They know everything.
Sendak Maurice
He’s one of the most important, if not the most important, writers and artists ever to work in children’s literature. In fact, he’s a significant writer and artist in literature. Period.
Maurice Sendak
Hitler made a film about "Hitler gives a camp to the Jews". And they look all shiny. And they're drawing. And they're playing volleyball. And people are dancing. And people are having a wonderful time. And everybody fell for it.




Maurice Sendak quotes
Maybe there are lots of children or certainly those who are not drawn to my work because they don't want to see those shadows. But, I'm telling what it was like for me. And I know it was not unique for me.
I've known many children, many unhappy and many disturbed children who don't know how to talk about it. And you know, the strangest thing... the fan mail I get from kids are asking me questions which they do not ask their mothers and fathers. Because if they had, why write to me, a perfect stranger?
Maurice Sendak
The ripeness was a letter that John Keats wrote to his brother who emigrated to America describing what it was like to have a peach or piece of a peach in his mouth. And it's one of the sexiest things you will ever read of how slow you should take the peach. Don't rush it. Let it go through your palette. Let it lie on your tongue. Let it melt a little bit. Let it run from the corners. It's like describing the most incredible sex orgy. And then, you bite. But, it must be so ripe. It must be so delicious. In other words, you must not waste a second of this deliciousness which for him was life and being a great poet. That you savor every, everything that happened. I want to get ripe.
Sendak quotes
To young readers Sendak's "kiddie books" – in particular, 1963's hugely popular Where the Wild Things Are – were anything but idiotic, creating imaginative visions of childhood that adults might have considered dark, cruel or disturbing, but which thrilled and delighted three generations of children.
Sendak Maurice
You can't get rid of evil. We can't, and I feel that so intensely. All the idiots that keep coming into the world and wrecking people's lives.
And it is such an abundance of idiocy that you lose courage, okay? That you lose hope — I don't want to lose hope. I get through every day — I'm pretty good — I work. I sleep. I sing. I walk. But, I'm losing hope.
Sendak Maurice quotes
We were the "chosen people," chosen to be killed?
Maurice Sendak
"And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"
Maurice Sendak quotes
Please don't go. We'll eat you up. We love you so.
Maurice Sendak
Certainly we want to protect our children from new and painful experiences that are beyond their emotional comprehension and that intensify anxiety; and to a point we can prevent premature exposure to such experiences. That is obvious. But what is just as obvious — and what is too often overlooked — is the fact that from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, they continually cope with frustrations as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things.
Sendak Maurice
There must be more to life than having everything!


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