Maurice Sendak Dies at 83
Every child growing up finds stories that they can identify with. Books have long been a staple of those formative years.
It’s when your mind is still open to outrageous possibility and fantasy.
When I was young, I was always drawn to books. Like A Wrinkle in Time, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Dr. Seuss, and the like. But the story I read the most had to have been Where the Wild Things Are. And that’s why I am truly saddened by the passing of its author, the reclusive Maurice Sendak, who died at age 83 in Connecticut on Tuesday, May 8, after complications from a recent stroke.
Sendak was not just an author, but a dream-weaver. His illustrations sprung to life in a way that most artists never achieve. They existed in a world of their own.
I had the pleasure of seeing his work in person while I was in college studying illustration. His work can be viewed at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, and I highly recommend anyone to stop by if you have the chance.
In fact, in memory of Mr. Sendak, the museum will be open free of charge today, May 8, for visitors to celebrate the life and work of the artist.
His passing leaves a tremendous hole in the art world. He was truly one of the most exceptional American artists in history, or as the Library of Congress referred to him, a “Living Legend.” He was also a gem of the East Coast art community and he will forever be remembered for his writings, works of art, razor-sharp wit, and vibrant attitude towards life.
So, let’s remember him the way he’d have preferred. Sendak made it no secret that he was not a fan of e-Books. He’s hilariously quoted as saying, “I hate those e-Books. They can not be the future … they may well be … I will be dead, I won’t give a shit.”
So with that in mind, pick up a copy of one of his stories tonight (the paper kind) and read.
Read it to your children if you have them.
Read it to yourself if you don’t.
Just get lost in the magic that this man created.
Sendak once said, “When Mozart is playing in my room, I am in conjunction with something I can’t explain … I don’t need to. I know that if there’s a purpose for life, it was for me to hear Mozart.”
And to many children (even us grown children) the purpose of our childhood is to expereince his stories and dream of his art.
Farewell, Mr. Sendak. I hope you find your supper waiting for you. And I hope it’s still hot.
— Craig Billow
Craig Billow is the art director of Atlantic City Weekly