Seeing as you’re online reading this right now, you’ve probably already learned elsewhere on the internet that Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are and many other classic, award-winning books, passed away today. The New York Times published a thorough obituary online about Sendak’s life and work, and other news outlets have picked up the story as well. But there is an element to this that strikes me as cosmically eerie, and which wasn’t mentioned in any of the three pieces I read this morning about Sendak’s death. Two of those articles touch on the fact that a few months ago, Stephen Colbert traveled to Sendak’s home to interview him. Their chat aired in two parts on consecutive nights, and before I get to the cosmic eerieness, you should watch their hilarious interaction.
[Note: Videos were originally embedded here, but the service used to post them no longer exists and WordPress is sadly way behind the curve when it comes to video embeds, imposing limitations that preclude far too many videos from being used directly in posts. BUT here are links to the two segments of the Colbert/Sendak interview: Part One and Part Two.]
Though it probably seemed like a gag at the time, Colbert really did find a publisher for I Am a Pole (And So Can You!)…and the book, bearing Sendak’s endorsement, became available today. I almost published a post yesterday about its impending release, mainly as an excuse to share the interview and make sure people knew that a new example of Colbert’s genius was about to hit. I ended up not doing it, though I thought I might post the interview in the future, whenever Sendak passed away. Then I saw the news online today – the release day of the book – that Sendak was gone. Maybe I’m alone here, but I find that pretty damn cosmically eerie. So…enjoy the interview, pull out your copy of Where the Wild Things Are and maybe even pick up Colbert’s story. It’s also available in audiobook form, read by Tom Hanks. Seriously. The proceeds are going to a charity that helps military veterans readjust to society, and besides, what better way to honor the departed author than by purchasing a book he so tepidly recommended?
Thanks for the stories, Mr. Sendak.