goodbye

MAY

In May
I truly think it best
to be a robin
lightly dressed
concocting soup
inside my nest.
Mix it once
mix it twice
mix that chicken soup
with rice.

~ from Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak (Harper & Row, 1962)

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RIP Maurice Sendak (June 10, 1928 – May 8, 2012)

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22 thoughts on “goodbye

  1. Aaand, of all of the tributes I’ve read, for some reason, yours is the one that made me sob out loud.

    I think it’s the book. I don’t know why I LOVE the Chicken Soup with Rice book, and in the third grade I, raised a vegetarian, was DYING for a bowl. Just. One. Bowl.

    I remind myself again: the man lived as he chose (for the most part), was as irascible and tempermental as he chose, he loved as hard as he chose and loathed as heartily, and died when he was well ready to go.

    Which is all we can hope for each other, is it not? He grasped life hard and then was able to gracefully let go.

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    1. You nailed it — always finding just the right words. Yes, I think he was ready to go, and part of the outpouring of grief and sadness (aside from losing such an iconic creative genius of course), is because we were aware that he battled his demons all along, he wasn’t perfect but we still idolized him, admiring the human being behind the creator. The courage to be yourself.

      I didn’t realize you loved the Chicken Soup book that much. I didn’t see it until I was an adult, so its impact on me is entirely different. I adore the entire Nutshell Library. His child-like spirit sings, not so much darkness.

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  2. Tadmack – I love your analysis. Right on the money, I think, after reading so much about him over the last 24 hours. Very few regrets, if any, in his life.

    I wonder how different a person he would have been, if he had been born just 50 years later. And would he still have produced those great books?

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    1. Great question, Cathy. So many factors play into one’s creative growth — the whole luck and timing and who you know at the right time, etc. And I think what he wrote was in many ways of his time — and he saw the need to tell it like it is, not gloss over childhood so much. These days, subjects and treatments are in so many ways influenced by his contributions. Would someone else have been able to do the same for today’s authors/illustrators? Maybe not. If he had not been compelled to keep his gayness a secret for most of his life, would there have been a need to purge those feelings in his work?

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  3. My family paid tribute to Maurice Sendak last night at the dinner table, reminiscing about our favorite Maurice Sendak works. We all have such fond memories reading his books over and over again, especially Where The Wild Things Are (memorized!) and Chicken Soup With Rice (also memorized!). We all adore Little Bear as well, although I must guiltily admit the girls (now 17 and 13) and I remember the tv show the most. I’m okay with that, though.. it was still a wholesome part of their childhood.

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    1. What a great way to pay tribute, Christine! I’ve always loved the Little Bear books; have avoided watching the TV program for fear it would spoil something.

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    1. Hi Mandy, Nice to meet a fellow “great mind!”🙂 I see from your blog post that you also like Pierre. Me too! “I don’t care!”

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  4. What a sad day indeed for those who have been touched by Sendak’s life. Lovely tribute, Jama. When prose fails, we turn to poetry.🙂 *note to self: I should read chicken soup with rice soonest*

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    1. It’s an adorable book, Myra — if you haven’t seen any of the Nutshell Library little books, you’re in for such a treat!!

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  5. Chicken Soup With Rice and Where the Wild Things Are are my favorites too. Also, I think of Little Bear with great fondness (The TV show in particular! So sweet.) His interview with Stephen Colbert was very funny. It feels like I knew him.

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    1. The Colbert interview was amazing, and it aired just a little while ago — making it even more unbelievable that he could be gone. Yes, Little Bear . . . sigh.

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