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Current time:0:00Total duration:5:09

Literature meets art: Maurice Sendak inspired by William Blake

Video transcript

Why is Wild Things so much the book of my life? Who knows? I don’t know. The people want to. What's there? I don’t know. A mystery is there maybe you like mysteries. People say, why don’t you do Wild Things Two? Wild Things One was such a success. Go to hell go to hell. It's not horror I don’t do those things. Herman Melville said that artists have to take a dive. Either you hit your head on a rock and you split your skull and you die, or that blow to the head is so inspiring that you come back up and do the best work you ever did. But you have to take the dive and you do not know what the result will be. I do not believe that I have ever written a children's book. I don’t know how to write a children's book. How do you write about it? How do you set out to write a children's book It's a lie. I don’t believe in the awards, I don’t believe in these clubs so I'm much luckier than Herman Melville ever was much luckier than William Blake ever was but I still suffer from what they suffered from. I'm reading an interesting book now on the life of William Blake, I've read many of them. That whole row back there is Blake. I can't figure out what it is but I mean, what draws me to him so much because I don’t understand him. I still cannot read through one of his Illuminated, I can't. I don’t know what the hell he's talking about but I love him. If I were religious I would feel that way about whatever. He's an illustrator, I am an illustrator. He illustrates poems, his own poems. Mythical, dream poems. I guess it's the way his profound belief in something sounds kind of idiotic but I believe him. I believe in his passion. My books are really books that are impressed and in love with the memory of comics and how important they were to me as a child. I didn’t live across the street from the Batistere. I didn’t live near any famous person. I didn’t see Michelangelo go to work in the morning I just lived in Brooklyn where everything was ordinary, and yet enticing and exciting and bewildering. The magic of childhood, is the strangeness of childhood. The uniqueness that makes us see things that other people don’t see. My work has always been considered inappropriate but the ones that I love the ones that I think work as works of art and books are inappropriate. The most important one to me is Outside Over There. It's my most important work, to me. It was after a trip to Europe and Germany. I was illustrating Grimm and I fell in love with the German romantics passionately. 'Outside Over There' is like a bad Runge painting. It also brought on a nervous breakdown of monumental force. It slammed me to the ground I got that close to the fire. I got that close to the fire. We all have to find our way. If I can find a way through picture making book illustration, or whatever you want to call it I'd be okay.