Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Maurice Sendak has died at the age of 83 in Danbury, CT. He lived in Ridgefield, CT. The cause was complications from a stroke.
Hearing this news, so casually, between the first sips of coffee, on someone's Facebook feed this morning, was stunning and lacked the scope and context.
This is, as we all know, the man who was the most important children's author of the 20th century.
You see, I say "is." Not "was." I'm still processing ....
My only contact with Mr. Sendak was a couple of years ago. And it was at a distance.
I volunteered to contact Mr. Sendak in 2010 to inquire if he would like to attend the National Cartoonists Society annual Reubens Award weekend as a special guest. A crazy thing to volunteer to do since pretty much everyone is in awe of him. Heck, I would be shaking in my boots and stuttering ala Bert Lahr when he met the great and powerful Wizard of Oz. I think we all would be!
It took a while to find a phone number for him. He does not (nor does he need) a major presence on the Web. I called some editor friends and agent friends, who were able to get a contact name and number for his Foundation. So, I called ....
I received a letter in the mail in reply. It was from the Director of the Sendak Fellowship. Unfortunately, while "Mr. Sendak is flattered," he could not attend the Reubens due to health considerations. So, it was not to be.
Above: detail from the stationery of The Sendak Foundation.
His impact cannot be overstated. He will be missed and his work will live on. Tributes abound. We are all Sendak's fans.