I am so sad to hear that Maurice Sendak has died. His books were a huge part of my childhood, of course, but he was also someone who inspired me to write as an adult. I saw him give a talk when I was in college, and he was cranky, yes, but also so unabashedly, unapologetically himself. Seeing him helped give me the courage not to go to graduate school, but to pursue art and writing instead.
One particular quote stuck with me: “People ask why I write children’s books. I don’t write children’s books. It’s not my fault booksellers don’t shelve me next to Saul Bellow!”
I took that to heart. Write what you need to write. Let someone else decide how to categorize it.
Rest in peace, old man.
Edited to add: Holy crap my friend Phantom can write. Here’s her eulogy to Mr. Sendak.