Maurice Sendak, who died last year, would have turned eighty-five today. (It was a birthday he shared with my father, and so now June 10th will never pass without me thinking of both of them.) There’s a beautiful little animation celebrating Sendak on the Google home-page today, but it’ll be gone by tomorrow, so don’t delay taking a look. (Update: Jenny has left a message that all the Google animations are archived HERE. Thank you Jenny.) And while we’re thinking about Sendak, don’t miss THIS wonderful interview with the great man from the Believer, in which he dishes the dirt to Emma Brockes. There’s much to raise a smile, including his withering contempt for Richard Murdoch and a dismissal of e-books. Here’s a small taste, but go read the whole thing.
BLVR: What do you think of e-books?
MS: 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. I know that’s terribly old-fashioned. I’m old, and when I’m gone they’ll probably try to make my books on all these things, but I’m going to fight it like hell. [Pauses] I can’t believe I’ve turned into a typical old man. I can’t believe it. I was young just minutes ago.
BLVR: Is the problem with e-books partly a problem of color?
MS: Yes. Picture books depend on color, largely. And they haven’t perfected the color in those machines. But it’s not that. It’s giving up a form that is so beautiful. A book is really like a lover. It arranges itself in your life in a way that is beautiful. Even as a kid, my sister, who was the eldest, brought books home for me, and I think I spent more time sniffing and touching them than reading. I just remember the joy of the book; the beauty of the binding. The smelling of the interior. Happy.
BLVR: Are you happy now?
MS: [Sighs] My friends are all dying. They have to die. I know that. I have to die. But two friends died last week. I was completely broken by it. One was a publisher in Zurich. I loved him and his wife. It’s the loneliness that’s very bad. They’re doing what is natural. If I was doing what was natural I would be gone, like they are. I just miss them, terribly.
And we miss you Maurice. Every day.