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[Readings]

Outside Over There

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From an interview with children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, by British journalist Emma Brockes, published in the November/December 2012 issue of The Believer. Sendak, whose many works include Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, died in Connecticut last May.

emma brockes: Do you miss the city, living out here?

maurice sendak: I really don’t like the city anymore. You get pushed and harassed and people grope you. It’s too tumultuous. It’s too crazy. I’m afraid of falling over in New York. People are all insane and talking on machines and twittering and twottering. All that. I’m here looking for peace and quiet. A yummy death.

brockes: A yummy death?

sendak: I’m just reading a book about Samuel Palmer and the ancients in England in the 1820s. You were so lucky to have William Blake. He’s lying in bed, he’s dying, and all the young men come — the famous engravers and painters — and he’s lying and dying, and suddenly he jumps up and begins to sing! “Angels! Angels!” I don’t know what the song was. And he died a happy death. It can be done. If you’re William Blake and totally crazy.

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