Maurice Sendak died 😦
For those of you who don’t know, Mr Sendak was author of (among many other things) my favorite book of all time: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE.
WTWTA is probably the mostly beautifully illustrated book I’ve ever seen. I first had this read to me when I was around five years old, probably on an episode of “Play School”. I still own it today. I have WTWTA figurines on my book shelf in my dining room. I could probably quote you the book by heart.
I know books mean different things to different people. For me, WTWTA was an exploration of the concept of rage told from a child’s POV – the emptiness and ultimate fruitlessness of it all. It’s a cautionary tale about the potential loss that stems from unchecked anger. Nothing like it had been done before. It was brave, and it was brilliant.
I’m an angry person. I always have been, always will be. And though I’m a firm believer in the power of rage, and how it can be channeled into positive and brilliant endeavors, I always have to be mindful of where it can lead if left unchecked. I am Max – I’ve always been Max, for as long as I can remember. And whether it’s loud and screaming or tucked away in some tiny corner, there is always a Wild Rumpus going on inside my head.
Sendak could sometimes come off as very angry and bitter – about the state of publishing, politics, his country. I think you’d have to be angry to write the kind of books he did. He often lamented that he was considered a “children’s book” author, rather than just an “author whose books some kids happened to like”. He also expressed frustration that people only seemed interested in WTWTA, and none of his other books. I guess that’s the price you pay for making something so perfect. But he was a generous and genuinely funny guy, intelligent and cutting, and the world is a bit smaller now he’s gone.
But, he left behind something awesome to remember him by. And that’s something worth celebrating.