Tuesday October 4th, 2011

Where the Wildly Opinionated Are

Emma Brockes’ visit with famed children’s author Maurice Sendak for the Guardian is making the rounds, partly for the 83-year-old Sendak’s firm opinions about Salman Rushdie, Roald Dahl, e-books (”I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book! A book is a book is a book.”), and Stephen King, among many other subjects. He also shares stories about his upbringing and his family:

The term “children’s illustrator” annoys him, since it seems to belittle his talent. “I have to accept my role. I will never kill myself like Vincent Van Gogh. Nor will I paint beautiful water lilies like Monet. I can’t do that. I’m in the idiot role of being a kiddie book person.” He and [his longtime partner] Eugene never considered bringing up children themselves, he says. He’s sure he would have messed it up. His brother felt the same way: after their childhood, they were too dysfunctional. “They led desperate lives,” he says of his parents. “They should have been crazy. And we — making fun of them. I remember when my brother was dying, he looked at me and his eyes were all teary. And he said, ‘Why were we so unkind to Mama?’ And I said, ‘Don’t do that. We were kids, we didn’t understand. We didn’t know she was crazy.’”