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The Wonderful Maurice Sendak

Photo of Maurice Sendak with Herman, his German Shepherd Herman, at his home in Connecticut by Tim Knox for The Guardian.

Maurice Sendak died today. He was 83. Having written and illustrated many children’s books and poems, he is most famous for his 1963 book Where The Wild Things Are. He was a man who devoted his life to his art, never having children and coming out as a gay man late in life. (He lived with his partner Eugene Glynn for 50 years until his death in 2007.)

The audio clip here was from his interview with Terry Gross from NPR’s Fresh Air on September 20, 2011. It is one of the most marvelous and exhilarating interviews I have ever listened to. In fact, one of my reasons for including it here is so that I can listen to it again and again. While it makes me cry, it also makes me happy. In the interview, the man is an unbridled open wound, selflessly pouring out his love for life and for the people he misses. It’s beautiful.

“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.” – Maurice Sendak

Listen here:
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Maurice Sendak on Fresh Air (September 20, 2011) – 20 min.
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“Live your life, live your life, live your life.” Thank you, Mr. Sendak.

Maurice Sendak’s obituary in The New York Times.