May 15, 2012

Seven Days of Sendak - 6 - Courage

And we get to "Late Sendak", a fearless, curmudgeonly and much darker version of his younger self. Curiously, as his books became less and less mainstream, his fame grew, and the articles, appearances, short promo videos and long interviews grew as well.

At least his darkness, his moroseness, was well earned. Everybody faces tragedy in their life at some point, but few face as much adversity as Sendak did in his childhood. He was a sickly child who was assumed to be on death's door through much of his early childhood. He was involved in the accidental death of a playmate when 6 or so. Worst of all was his relationship to the Holocaust, with the news that his father's family had been killed coming on the very day of Maurice's Bar Mitzvah. I can't even imagine that degree of trauma. That he could take those events in his childhood and use it to celebrate the resilience of children is to me his greatest legacy.

The best interview where Sendak gets into these darker chasms of his story is his 2004 interview with Bill Moyers.

Bill Moyers: My Time with Maurice Sendak

Posted by Tom at May 15, 2012 12:21 AM