Maurice Sendak in 2009 interview: ‘Everything is the same. Nothing changes.’

June 10, 2013

The famous children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak would have been 85 today. Google has celebrated his birthday with one of their more ambitious doodles to date. But PBS has also paid tribute to the author, producing an animation to accompany a piece of his 2009 interview with Newsweek plucked from the cutting-room floor.


A screenshot of the PBS Digital Studios series “Blank on Blank”, which presents animations over the audio of previously unreleased interview with newsmakers, in this case a 2009 interview with noted children’s book author Maurice Sendak. (YouTube)

The interviewers are Andrew Romano and Ramin Setoodeh, and the video is part of the PBS Digital Studios series “Blank on Blank.” In this episode, the blanks represent Sendak on “being a kid.” Previous episodes feature interviews with Jim Morrison on “Why fat is beautiful,”James Brown on “Conviction, Respect & Reagan” and David Foster Wallace on “Ambition”. The video was produced by David Gerlach with animations by Patrick Smith.

“I’ve always had a deep respect for children and how they solve complex problems by themselves,” says Sendak, “they want to survive. They want to survive.”

“Let’s tell the truth,” he says later on in the recording, “let’s talk about the kid who doesn’t make it sensationally well — who struggles and fights, but really doesn’t know what he’s fighting against or for. And I don’t think that changes. We’re all adults in this room sitting and talking about ‘does that end it?’. No. It doesn’t end. I still think the same way I thought as a child. I still worry. I’m still frightened. Everything is the same. Nothing changes.”

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Emi Kolawole · June 10, 2013