My editorial commentary in the current issue of Nigerianstalk Litmag briefly touched on the passing of children’s writer Maurice Sendak. Like Dr. Seus, I didn’t know much about Mr. Sendak until I came to the United States, and one of my most remarkable contact with him was through Stephen Colbert in a very recent, every affecting interview (as if either of them knew how short a time the writer had left. He died at 83 on Tuesday). Maurice is the author of the popular children’s book Where the Wild Things Are. He admitted to Colbert that he didn’t see himself much as a “children’s” writer but as someone whose work has been accepted as appealing to children. The second part of that interview is here.
Listening to his other very remarkable, emotional interview with Terry Gross of NPR, it is hard to see him as anything but remarkable a human being – much more than the brilliant writer and illustrator that he was. Ending the interview with an advice to “live your life, live your life,” it appears that one of his most enduring legacy will be his ability to defy all odds of negativity and skepticism in order to achieve immortality. As Colbert himself will now acknowledge after receiving the boost of approval from Mr. Sendak for his own new book for children I’m a Pole (and So Can You), genius loves company.
These are some of the last words on that NPR interview, a commentary on his life: “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.”
RIP Maurice (Obituary in the NY Times).