Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Maurice Sendak

No poker content here. If that troubles you, move on now.

I've had kind of an emotional afternoon reading and hearing more about Maurice Sendak than I've ever known before. NPR's "Fresh Air" devoted the whole program to replaying excerpts of interviews that Terry Gross has done with him over the years:

The last interview was especially wonderful. I listened to it three times. When it was recorded late last year, the author was frail and vividly aware of his own mortality, yet more saddened by the deaths of those close to him than by the prospect of his own. Much of the interview, done by telephone from his home, was conducted through his tears and quavering voice, and I found it incredibly moving.

A sample:
TG: You don't believe in God.

MS: No, I don't.

TG: I think having friends who die, getting older, getting closer toward the end of life, tests people's faith, and it also tests people's atheism. It sounds like your atheism is staying strong.

MS: Yes. I'm not unhappy about becoming old. I'm not unhappy about what must be. It makes me cry only when I see my friends go before me, and life gets emptied. I don't believe in an afterlife, but I still fully expect to see my brother again. And it's like a dream life. I'm reading a biography of Samuel Palmer.... He believed in God, you see, and he believed in heaven, and he believed in hell. Goodness gracious, that must have made life much easier. It's harder for us nonbelievers.

But you know, there's something I'm finding out as I'm aging: that I am in love with the world. And I look right now, as we speak together, out my window in my studio, and I see my trees, my beautiful, beautiful maples that are hundreds of years old. They're beautiful, and I can see how beautiful they are, and I can take time to see how beautiful they are. It is a blessing to get old. It is a blessing to find the time to do the things, to read the books, to listen to the music.

...I have nothing but praise now, really, for my life. I mean, I'm not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. I cry a lot because they die, and I can't stop them. They leave me, and I love them more....

Oh, God, 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.

...I wish you all good things. Live your life. Live your life. Live your life.


Josie said...

Incredible post. He has amazing insight. Ty for making me aware of the interviews.

Rakewell said...

Blogger's stupid messed-up comment function screwed up again, and refuses to acknowledge Josie's submission, so here it is:

Incredible post. He has amazing insight. Ty for making me aware of the interviews.

PokerLawyer said...

Yes, thank you for sharing. Each of us with our stories. His words, a beautiful reminder.

Carmel said...

I love NPR. I love Fresh Air, I'm sad for his loss. When I heard his interview earlier this year I was moved to tears. What an amazing artist.

Fred said...

Wow, I feel like a better person for having read your excerpt of the interview, Thanks!!