Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday Muse: Maurice Sendak

Today's Tuesday Muse is (and couldn't possibly be anything but) Maurice Sendak, the much-beloved author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, and many more books for children. It seems that children's literature has lost a number of its greats in the past year, but Maurice Sendak's loss has hit particularly hard. Perhaps that's because it would be difficult to name another author and illustrator whose effect on the field that I work in and love has been so profound. I truly don't believe children's literature could be what it is today without him. And for a man who saw much of society going downhill around him, he nonetheless maintained a childlike sense of whimsy and an ability to tell stories that inspire.

I leave you with some Maurice Sendak quotes on writing for children which The Telegraph quoted last week:

"No story is worth the writing, no picture worth the making, if it is not a work of imagination.”
"I refuse to lie to children. I refuse to cater to the bullsh*t of innocence."
“You cannot write for children. They're much too complicated. You can only write books that are of interest to them.”
“. . .from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, they continually cope with frustrations as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things.”

Thank you, Maurice Sendak, for understanding children—and for understanding dreams—in a way that few people do.

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