Brain Pickings

Terry Gross’s Moving Maurice Sendak Interview, Illustrated by Christoph Niemann

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“Live your life, live your life, live your life.”

Beloved children’s book author and artist Maurice Sendak — though he insisted he never wrote specifically for children — was among the most heartbreaking losses of 2012. His September 2011 NPR Fresh Air interview by Terry Gross is one of the most soul-stirring conversations you’ll ever hear on the airwaves. So much so that, ever since he first tuned in, the inimitable Christoph Niemann was so moved that he decided to illustrate the last five minutes of the interview. The result will stop your breath:

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. You know, I don’t think I’m rationalizing anything. I really don’t. This is all inevitable and I have no control over it.

[…]

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

Sendak’s final book, Bumble-Ardy (public library), was published the week of Terry Gross’s interview. For more of Sendak’s genius, see his darkest yet most hopeful children’s book, his uncommon take on Nutcracker, and his little-known vintage posters celebrating the joy of reading.

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