‘Strive For Originality:’ Maurice Sendak on Living a Creative Life
Maurice Sendak is most well-known for his beloved children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” a story rooted in imagination and independence and defiance. But Sendak, who died in 2012, was more than just a great writer and illustrator; he was also an incredible thinker, whose wry wisdom, humor, and insight remain inspirational to creatives still.
Today, on what would have been Maurice Sendak’s 86th birthday, let’s look back at some of his most brilliant, enlightening, and comforting quotes.
— “You can’t get rid of evil. We can’t, and I feel that so intensely. All the idiots that keep coming into the world and wrecking people’s lives. And it is such an abundance of idiocy that you lose courage, okay? That you lose hope — I don’t want to lose hope.” [Source]
— “As an aspiring artist, you should strive for originality of vision. Have something to say and a fresh way of saying it. No story is worth the writing, no picture worth the making, if it’s not the work of the imagination.” [Source]
—”I’m totally crazy, I know that. I don’t say that to be a smartass, but I know that that’s the very essence of what makes my work good. And I know my work is good. Not everybody likes it, that’s fine. I don’t do it for everybody. Or anybody. I do it because I can’t not do it.” [Source]
—”If children are different from us, they are more spontaneous. Grown-up lives have become overlaid with dross.” [Source]
— “Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.” [Source]
— “I have nothing now but praise for my life. I’m not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more. … What I dread is the isolation. … There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.” [Source]
— “That’s what art is. You don’t make up stories. You live your life.” [Source]
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