Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tell Them Anything You Want

we just watched the HBO documentary on Maurice Sendak entitled, Tell Them Anything You Want. we have verizon on-demand - if you have it to its under the short documentaries...if you don't i am sure you will be able to rent it soon...

its directed by Spike Jonze and Lance Bangs and what a great portrait of the author and illustrator. he is 80 years old now - he lives alone - never had kids - he is gay - he loved his brother and sister but still has issues about his parents. it was so interesting to hear his story and to see how they influenced his work.

it made me want to read some of his other works with a new set of "glasses".

in case you are not going to see it please continue to read if you desire, but just a warning - the following may contain bits that just may spoil it for you...because it is tainted with my commentary...

above all it made me realize how shaping our childhoods are...and just how scary that is for me as a parent...he tells about how he was "an accident" he was born in the year of 1928 - right around the great depression and his parents could not afford him, so his father made his mom take a bunch of pills and even fall off a ladder to try to abort him...what is worse is that they retold the story to him on several occasions since he was young...because it "was a good story".

another shaping experience for him was the story of the Lindbergh baby (Charles Lindbergh's 20 month old was kidnapped in their home in 1932 and found dead days later)  he was only 4 but remembers seeing a paper depicting a of the corpse of the baby and it has haunted him his whole life and in fact he became obsessed with the case. in his words (paraphrased)  it rocked him because..if a rich gentile baby could die under his parent's nose, what hope did someone like me have? (he is Jewish by the way). his book, "Outside Over There" is sort of his take (not a literal depiction) of the Lindbergh baby and definitely on my list to read...

i think it gives so much insight and depth to learn of the author and artist behind your favorite books because their experiences can not help but leak into their work and i think my take on "Where the Wild Things Are" is a little changed now knowing his story.

what a character Maurice is...what a fascinating person to happen into children's books...i am sure a psychologist could have a field day with him :) - i found the documentary to be exceptionally heartful and a beautiful portrait of a true *artist*.

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