Thursday, May 17, 2012

More About Maurice

Since Maurice Sendak died last week, there's been a flood of accolades and personal memories published. I'd like to add one small story from an interview he gave Leonard Marcus in WAYS OF TELLING: CONVERSATIONS ON THE ART OF THE PICTURE BOOK published by Dutton in 2002.

Leonard S. Marcus: "Once when you were ill as a child, your father told you that if you looked out of the window without blinking you might see an angel. In many of your children's books, characters stare out at the reader. Are they, too, looking for angels?"

Maurice Sendak: "I remember that incident clearly, as if it were yesterday. It hurts not to blink, and I didn't blink until my eyes watered, but I did see an angel. And when I saw him or her or it go by, I screamed and my father came rushing in. And, of course, in WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, Max doesn't blink once."

Do you have any childhood memories woven into your writing?


  1. Seeing angels. Wow.
    Every one of my stories has something of a childhood memory, but it can be unrecognizable, even to myself.

  2. I try hard to remember my childhood when I'm writing so that I write from a child's perspective. I think that was part of Maurice Sendak's genius.

  3. Sometimes there are actual childhood memories woven into my writing. Often though, I think it is the emotions of my childhood that are wonven into my writing.

    Thanks for sharing a beautiful Sendak story!

  4. I agree with Brianna that it's often the emotions from childhood that shoot through my writing--the good bits of writing anyway. I'm often nostalgic for those experiences that took me out of myself--walking down the street to meet my first boyfriend was so heady and emotional, the street itself seems suffused with longing when I walk down it now.

  5. Mirka, Julie, Brianna, Ariel,

    Thanks for taking time to comment. Yes, the remembered emotions of childhood are what most writers rely on rather than specific incidents, but sometimes the magic of one happening is so meaningful it pops into a manuscript in a slightly altered form.

  6. I remember the emotions of my tween and teen years - How strongly I felt that I would remember what caused those emotions and never do/say/cause in any way those same emotions in my friends/boyfriends/kids.

    Today, I remember those emotions as acutely as I did then, but I sure don't remember all the causes. That's why I love being a writer. I get to make them up.