Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)
I am Batman.
When the anxieties of life enter my mind and refuse to leave, I dive into my imagination. I close my eyes and create a world where I am Batman. There are intricate plots and detailed characters. Explosions and fight scenes. And for a while I escape my worries and live in a world that resides entirely inside my squishy little brain.
I think the most important thing I learned from Maurice Sendak is that you do not turn in your imagination at the age of 18. You do not say, “I’m adult now, time to think of serious things.” Maurice didn’t create his books just for children. He poured out his imagination for all to see. So many books and movies are specifically tuned to a demographic.
“Boys like trucks and monkeys. Let’s make a book about a truck-driving monkey.”
That is not imagination. That is pandering.
Maurice created fantasy worlds that were scary and unique. Bad things happened in his stories. Sometimes his heroes were arrogant and obnoxious. He challenged everyone to dive into their imaginations and live in these worlds. Even as an adult you cannot help but get sucked into his stories. That is why I still have my boyhood copy of Where the Wild Things Are. I remember the drawings vividly. I remember the story. That world has a permanent residence in my head. All of my books about truck-driving monkeys are probably at the bottom of a garage sale bin with a 15 cent sticker on them.
Mr. Sendak used his imagination until the day he died. So I thought it would be fitting to immortalize not the man, but his imagination as a Jedi spirit.
Rest in peace, Maurice.