Above is Christopher Nieman’s beautiful illustration of Maurice Sendak’s heartwarming and deeply moving NPR interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. It’s hard not to be inspired listening to Sendak talking about the beauty he sees in the world:
SENDAK: 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 is 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. 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 and my beautiful, beautiful maples that are hundreds of years old, they’re beautiful. And you see I can see how beautiful they are. 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.
It’s also hard not to cry as he further describes the grief and isolation he feels as he grows older:
SENDAK: 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. And I’m in a very soft mood, as you can gather…
SENDAK: …because new people have died.
SENDAK: They were not that old. And so it’s what I dread more than anything is the isolation.
Ever the children’s author though, Sendak leaves us with the moral of this story:
SENDAK: I wish you all good things. Live your life, live your life, live your life.
by: Eric Widera (@ewidera)
Note: the full interview can be heard here.