Neil Gaiman on Maurice Sendak


2 Responses to “Neil Gaiman on Maurice Sendak”

  1. mynonymouse says:

    Terry Gross’s 2011 interview with Sendak, which she excerpted on Tuesday’s show is deeply moving. The last seven minutes are as profound a portrayal of what it means to face death so overflowing with love and gratitude and sadness and unmoved in one’s atheism. I’ve excerpted some choice bits below, but it is really worth listening to, to hear the emotion in his voice.

    TG: We’ve talked before about how, you, you know, you’re Jewish but you’re very secular, you don’t believe in god, you don’t…
    MS: No, I don’t.
    TG: Yeah, and I think having friends who die, getting older, getting closer towards the end of life tests people’s faith and it also tests people’s atheism. It sounds like you’re 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.

    TG: What are your physical restrictions like. Can you walk OK? Can you get around?
    MS: No. I can’t walk OK. I’d love to walk. I’ve been doing that since my 70′s when I had my first coronary. I have heart trouble and I’ve had a very hard time after Eugene died and I was very sick and I thought I would die and I came back to do Bumbalardy. I have nothing but praise now, really, for my life. 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. But I have my young people here, four of them, and they look at me as though I’m somebody who knows everything, poor kids, if they only knew how little I know. But obviously I give off something that they trust, because they’re all intelligent. 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.

    TG: When I heard you had a book coming out I thought what a good excuse to call up Maurice Sendak and have a chat.
    MS: Yes. That’s what we always do, isn’t it?
    TG: Yeah. It is.
    MS: It’s what we’ve always done. Thank god we’re still around to do it.
    TG: Yes.
    MS: And almost certainly I’ll go before you go so I won’t have to miss you. And I don’t know if I’ll do another book or not, but it doesn’t matter. I’m a happy old man.  I will cry my way all the way to the grave.

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