Maurice Sendak would have been 86 today. So, let’s take a moment or two to celebrate the life he muscled through.
Apparently this talented writer and artist, who delivered delight to so many childhoods, had a dreadful one of his own. In fact, in one interview he said the best way to describe his childhood was “D-A-R-K.”
First off, he was a very sickly kid who spent most of his time in bed. This was in the midst of The Great Depression, which made the outside world pretty grim, as well. On top of all that, stability wasn't a big part of the Sendak family plan.
Maurice reported that his family moved often. Why? Because his mother could not bear the smell of fresh paint. Every time a landlord wanted to spruce up the place, they had to go. Of course, Mom’s “instability” made life difficult in other ways, too.
Then World War II came along, and the Sendaks were driven even further into despair as many of their European relatives perished in the Holocaust.
Yes, that is D-A-R-K.
And my heart goes out to the little Maurice who lived through it.
It makes you wonder what one does with darkness like that.
Well, here’s what Maurice did…
From the confines of his bed, he honed his drawing skills. Chaos and gloom may have surrounded him, but he held fast to bright dreams of a better life. Then he used the darkness itself to transform into something completely different —
a Caldecott Medal winner.
Remember those monsters in Where the Wild Things Are? Maurice says they were all inspired by the batty family members who “hovered like a pack of middle-aged gargoyles” over his childhood sickbed.
We all have it.
It’s what we do with it that counts.
PROMPT: If you've got life, no doubt you've got darkness. But never, never forget — it can always be used to create something beautiful.
Create something beautiful today.