Maurice Sendak (1928 – 2012)
I, like millions of other kids, have traveled to the place Where The Wild Things Are. We conquered the Wild Things by doing the ultimate stare-down, we became King and danced the Wild Rumpus. We lived for the chaos and mayhem, unleashing the wildness that everyday rules sought to contain within us.
It was wonderful and brilliant.
Just like the man whose imagination set us free.
Maurice Sendak died yesterday and it was a very sad day, indeed.
While he had authored and illustrated many other books, this one is the one that most of us took to heart.
I remember reading this particular story as a kid and being enthralled with the idea of running amok. I guess this explains my attitude towards things today. Its not a bad thing but being fearless at times is great lol.
When I read it to my daughter, I did the whole thing with the required sound-effects. We gnashed our terrible teeth, stared unblinkingly into each other’s eyes and did our own version of the Wild Rumpus. This, of course, involved me being a monster and having my daughter jump on my back in her Little Mermaid pajamas.
Maurice Sendak broke the rules. He refused to play it safe, especially when it came to driving the imagination of children the world over.
He told it like it was: it was okay to pretend and to escape from the harsh realities of life. He didn’t believe in insulting a child’s intelligence by claiming everything was sunny and full of roses.
Mr. Sendak, like Dr. Seuss and other countless literary rebels, defied The Man and put the type of work out there that would almost guarantee a permanent ban from public libraries. Adults simply didn’t get him and he didn’t care.
But children got him, though, and that was the most important thing of all.
“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”
– Maurice Sendak
That’s the kind of impact this man had.
R.I.P. Mr. Sendak *hugs*