Tag Archives: Maurice Sendak

The dream after success

Quite recently, on a tour to sell my latest book, I went to an event where there were new people that I met. And on the surface it seemed very successful. It was successful from a worldly point of view. Everyone congratulated me. I didn’t think they were flattering me. But I was really unhappy and I didn’t know why. And then I had a dream. It was a very funny dream because it put me in a position of such discomfort. It was an irritating dream. I despised the situation in the dream, it was so bad. I woke up and really had to laugh because it told me that however well things seem to go on the surface, emotionally I was distressed and uneasy and angry at the situation. The dream just confirmed my real condition, my real state of mind. Everybody saying, “Everything is great, Maurice,” didn’t console me because deeply I didn’t believe it. The dream made up a little story — like a homily to tell what instinctually I knew all the time.

You could not, in the worldly sense, have expected the occasion to go better. But that isn’t what you care about emotionally. That never is what you care about. That’s like saying “I can’t trust him,” and everybody saying, “No reason not to.” But you can’t shake the feeling of mistrust even though it flies in the face of logic. . . .

The dream was all about how I should’ve changed the circumstances. I could’ve, but I didn’t. I was lazy and, rather than reconcile myself to it, I was just furious. It was a very good dream. Very good.

I have since made a decision to never attend an event like that again. I won’t put myself in a position like that again. That’s what my dream taught me.

Naomi Epel, Writers Dreaming, Bookman, Melbourne 1993

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Childhood knowing

Maurice [Sendak] says: “People say, ‘Oh, Mr. Sendak. I wish I were in touch with my childhood self, like you!’ As if it were all quaint and succulent, like Peter Pan. Childhood is cannibals and psychotics vomiting in your mouth! … In reality, childhood is deep and rich … I remember my own childhood vividly … I knew terrible things … but I knew I mustn’t let adults know I knew … it would scare them.”

Maurice liked to tell the story of the daughter of a friend who was at school near the World Trade Center when the towers fell. She told her father that she saw butterflies on the building as the towers collapsed. Later she admitted that they weren’t butterflies, they were people jumping, but she didn’t want to upset her father by letting him know that she knew. Children protect their parents, which is the funny part of childhood that slips away from us, the awful knowledge it contains.

Kaitie Roiphe, The Wildest Rumpus;Maurice Sendak and the Art of Death, The Atlantic , 7 March 2016

(from here) 

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