Rest In Peace, Maurice Sendak

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^ otm

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:03 (2 years ago) Permalink

among other great strengths of the book is the fact that it eschews typical kiddo moralizing and recognizable sentimentality, and lives in the dense innerspaces of an uneasy, swirling, psyche. This is a weird long-winded way of saying that WTWTA is abt. kids living in emotions and experiences that don't yet have names or recognizable forms – in this case a quadrant of anger-sadness-insecurity-rage-pleasure-pain-schadenfreude - that won't become recognizable or cope-able for many years if ever, and are raw qualia yet to be formed into Adult Emotions. despite any successes of the movie, i can't forgive it for missing the opportunity to explore the emotional depths of the book.

et tu, twinkletoes? (remy bean), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

agree, perhaps, that jonez & co tried too hard to give name and specific meaning to all the conflicted aspects of max's psyche, but i thought it did a pretty good job with the "the dense innerspaces of an uneasy, swirling, psyche". and i don't think the book's presenation of max's mind is as nameless/formless as you suggest, anyway. max is angry at not getting his way, and wants to act out, to smash stuff. he wants to be king of his own world and to observe no rules but his own. at the same time, he's still an insecure, emotionally needy kid. think the movie balanced all that reasonably well.

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

remy i'm not trying to be rude here but the dense innerspaces of an uneasy, swirling, psyche ... that won't become recognizable or cope-able for many years if ever, and are raw qualia yet to be formed into Adult Emotions sounds more like personal liveblogging than really thinking about the book and movie.

the late great, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

but it kind a sounds rude anyway?

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

Aww, man, RIP. Picked up the Kraken edition of Melville's Pierre, or, the Ambiguities that he'd illustrated - powerful stuff.

etc, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

Wow, that's beautiful!!!

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

Insanely great (even though this recording of the 3rd is not among the best):

Hierophantiasis (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

I love how the kids in his stories are never idealized, they're bratty and bossy and whiny and sort of unlovable. But deserving of love anyway.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

well it wouldn't be the first time i came off sounding rude and probably won't be the last

i'm just saying that there's not a whole lot of depth to it that i didn't get by age 10 or so. kid's being a brat, but sometimes you need to be a brat because you're a kid, and actually being a brat is actually fun, but it doesn't beat having a mom that loves you.

the late great, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

OTOH maybe i was a supergenius 10 year old and should have gone to grad school instead of jr high

the late great, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

lol, I think you and remy are kind of saying the same thing anyway? which means you can now officially hug. :)

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think we're basically on the same point, too.

I'm typing at work so i can't get into it here, or pull up any of the work I've done on it, but basically the book has a p. deep and acknowledged and coherent embedded symbolic meaning. my failure to express it articulately doesn't diminish its significance; i'll take the lumps that MS shouldn't have to. if you've got a copy of the book i'd recommend you look, for instance, at the contracting (then expanding) use of margin space on the left-hand pages of the book, and the noisier cross-hatching during the 'away' sections of the book than during the 'home' sections, and the way they act in juxtaposition to Max's experience of reality. There's so much going on, all intentional and considerate, and the way it is used by Sendak to convey deep meanings isn't reducible to 'kid has a bratty tantrum and likes it but he's also got a nice mom to come back to' even though that is the rough shape of the story.

et tu, twinkletoes? (remy bean), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

Love this, Spiegelman/Sendak New Yorker two-pager from 1993:


Roz, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think the whole feeling of the book is VERY understandable to children. which is why kids love it and why it makes grownups get that twinge of nostalgia/recollection/wistfulness.

i'm scared of the movie. still haven't seen it. maria said it was kinda scary and depressing.

scott seward, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

^ true. book is so perfect. it might be one of the most perfect books for kids ever written.

et tu, twinkletoes? (remy bean), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

There's so much going on, all intentional and considerate, and the way it is used by Sendak to convey deep meanings isn't reducible to 'kid has a bratty tantrum and likes it but he's also got a nice mom to come back to' even though that is the rough shape of the story.

i agree that it's a great book, but still think you're maybe pushing too hard for "deep meanings". max's imaginary world is rendered in a wilder, darker and looser manner than his home life. when he is angry, the prison of his room = the prison of "safe" reality = the prison of the illustrative frame. his unleashed imagination breaks the established boundaries of the page to forge a dangerous new world. i love these things about the book, but see them as clever and effective artistic devices. they convey meaning, yes, but i don't have to call them deep or describe them in any but the simplest terms to recognize/articulate their brilliance.

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

xpost to remy

i hear what you're saying, and it's a great argument for why sendak is a much better stylist than jonze (which is an understatement, jonze is a decent movie director and a good music video director, sendak is up there w/ dr seuss on the "count w/ fingers" short list of children's book illustrators ... i also think it's a good explanation of how sendak uses technique to bolster the theme in a much more effective way than jonze, and that he uses techniques that probably only an adult - and only one with more than passing knowledge of visual art - could understand.

but as far as the *theme* itself goes, i don't think there's thematic complexity in the book that's not in the movie and it sounds to me like the techniques you're talking about add that much more depth to the theme

i am with scott here - if the theme was only understandable at a deep level to adults, it just wouldn't have been that popular!

i would draw a parallel w/ "the giving tree". does a kid understand it the same way a senior citizen does? of course not, but not because there's thematic depth that the senior citizen has access to that the kid doesn't.

the late great, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

whoops i meant to say

"it sounds to me like the techniques you're talking about express the theme very vividly but don't in and of themselves add depth to the theme"

the late great, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

anyway, i remember being shocked and kind of scared by where the wild things are when i first encountered it. the scene where max jumps up on the table and yells at his mom! the transgressiveness of it genuinely shocked me. i think i was about 5.

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

xxpost Roz, that's so great, thanks for posting!

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 18:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

the interview doc that spike jonez made to go along w where the wild things are is fantastic, btw. recommended to anyone who hasn't seen it.

― 10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Tuesday, May 8, 2012 12:01 PM (1 hour ago)

yeah, it's called tell them anything you want, it's great

also... produced by MCA

diamanda ram dass (Edward III), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 18:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

:) Right? reposted that from a blog, but the New Yorker's just unlocked it too btw - it's zoom-able if anyone has trouble reading the text: http://archives.newyorker.com/?i=1993-09-27#folio=080

xpost

Roz, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 18:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

this guy was wondrous and a genius. i've found his books more rewarding to revisit as an adult than almost any other kids' books.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 18:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

that terry gross interview is intense.

a single goddamn marshmallow fucked me for LIFE (Hunt3r), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 19:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

it is one of the only times i have ever liked her!

et tu, twinkletoes? (remy bean), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 19:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

he lived not far from me when i was a kid. i remember once he was coming to our library to give a talk and i got all excited and the librarian told me the talk wasn't for kids!! i was so sad.

That librarian was a jerk, imo.

I have spent a lot of time with his books in the past few years, and I don't ever get tired of looking at them.

Respectfully, Tyrese Gibson (Nicole), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 19:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

those pierre illustrations are very blake.

a single goddamn marshmallow fucked me for LIFE (Hunt3r), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 19:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

our miss geeta with a nice piece:

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/05/maurice-sendak-rip/

scott seward, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 01:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

this for all time:

“Too many parents and too many writers of children’s books don’t respect the fact that kids know a great deal and suffer a great deal,” Sendak told The New Yorker’s Hentoff. “It’s not that I don’t see the naturalistic beauty of a child. I’m very aware of that beauty, and I could draw it…. But I am trying to draw the way children feel — or rather, the way I imagine they feel. It’s the way I know I felt as a child.”

scott seward, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 01:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

RIP, Big Mo.

Fule Runnings (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 02:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

Loved Sendak, his books and illustrations for others. The Animal Family by Randal Jarrel was a favorite, and his drawings were a really great match in tone. This picture from Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories was one of the most compelling and scary pictures:

It's the combination of menace and jollity that makes the Devil scary! He really nails it. And how much his face stands out compared to the subtle relief of his body, hooves, wings. Why the gnomes? Why the menorah & c? I don't remember a thing about that book except this picture, it's burned in me forever.

He's my favorite kind of curmudgeon, and an amazing craftsman.

Dale, dale, dale (Abbbottt), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 03:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

I just read a book about Caldecott-winning artists and the chapter on how he made Where the Wild Things Are was incredible. He spent seven years refining it. It started out as Where The Wild Horses Are. He'd put it down for months, pick it up again, rework it, over and over. Dig this dummy book he made during the process, it's just one inch tall and looks like the inside of a zeotrope:

Dale, dale, dale (Abbbottt), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 03:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

damn, rip

Chris S, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 03:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

Both of my kids went through phases of loving "In the Night Kitchen," far more than they ever did "Wild Things." I think it's because it's just so batshit insane they didn't know what to make of it.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 03:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

^ went through this phase. also hilarious due to wang.

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 03:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

Where The Child Wangs Are.

RIP!

wan brujo (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 03:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

in the wang kitchen

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 04:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 04:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

<3

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 04:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

that interviews overview on npr this afternoon was soo good!

Fellini.Kuti, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 04:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

i kinda think 'outside over there' is his masterpiece, and not just because i remember my first encounter with it in second grade with such queasy vividness that for years i thought i'd dreamed it, since no actual kids' book like that could possibly exist.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 05:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

it may be. that or wild things.

10. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Tom Cruise (contenderizer), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 05:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

i think what really puts across that devil picture is the way he's got one hand in his pocket. who else would think to draw him like that?

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 9 May 2012 05:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

here's a piece i wrote about maurice sendak for wired:

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/05/maurice-sendak-rip/

geeta, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 19:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

5 months pass...

great interview: http://believermag.com/issues/201211/?read=interview_sendak

[The phone rings. It is NPR letting Sendak know that a recent interview with him has run and is generating a lot of responses. He praises Terry Gross, the interviewer.]

MS: The only thing she said wrong was that her favorite interviews had been me and that stupid fucking writer. Salman Rushdie, that flaccid fuckhead. He reviewed me on a full page in the New York Times, my book Dear Mili. He hated it. He is detestable. I called up the Ayatollah, nobody knows that. What else shall we talk about?

gotta say i agree with his comments on Roald Dahl.

JoeStork, Monday, 5 November 2012 20:14 (2 years ago) Permalink


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