I like to read.
It’s a common thing among people who write for a hobby. Writers enjoy reading. Because of this, writers have favorite authors, people whose books we’ve read over and over. People whose new books we buy when they come out. I’ve reread Tolkien’s The Hobbit a number of times and am currently introducing my sons to it (in advance of seeing the movie). I love the works of Barry Eisler, Haywood Smith, Karen White, Dianna Love, and Debby Giusti.
However, when I heard last week that Maurice Sendak had died, I realized that my most favorite author was gone. Sendak’s works were around when I was a kid, but I don’t remember reading them back then or even hearing of them. I missed out on a lot.
When my older son was born, I got my second chance.
My older son developed like all other kids for the first eighteen months. After that, he went into a shell. We had trouble getting him to talk at all. We tried numerous therapies to bring it out of him. We also increased the amount of reading we did with him.
We use to take him to bookstores. Any book he showed the least bit of interest in, we purchased it. Still, we didn’t get the reaction we hoped for.
Then we discovered Where the Wild Things Are.
My son smiled with delight each night as more than once the monsters “roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth.” Then, when the time arrived, my son jumped up and yelled, “Let the wild rumpus start.”
We would dance around the room, pretending to have a party. Then we’d come to stop and finish the story.
We had a lot of wild rumpuses in those days. A lot of happy times. When the movie came out, I took him and his younger brother. But the story on the screen didn’t quite live up to the book.
Because of this story, my wife and I bought other Sendak books to read to my son, books such as In the Night Kitchen and The Nutshell Library. My son loved them all. He could repeat them with me as we read.
I’ll always be grateful to Mr. Sendak for his creations.
I owe him a lot.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Sendak, from one of your biggest fans.