Maurice Sendak on ageing…

In the New Yorker May 21, 2012 Mariana Cook writes of her photographic session and interview some years later with the elderly writer Maurice. Looking at the photo of him and his dog he says,

“I am in my bathrobe in the forest with my dog, Herman, who is a German shepherd of unknowable age, because I refused to ever find out. I don’t want to know. I wish I didn’t know how old I was. This is far more than I expected, far more than I need, far more than I desire. I didn’t think I’d live this long.”


Thinking of ageing, I read a tweet by Alain de Botton. A parent with their child: ‘it will take at least 40 years till you’ll understand what I am feeling for you now.‘ How true is that! It has taken me this long to really know what it might have been like for my mother and father to be parents. It requires the experience of parenting your own child. I have much more empathy for my parents now and the choices they made. When I was a child I thought their decisions were unfair, that they didn’t understand me, that they didn’t let me do, or have, the things I wanted out of some kind of spite or mean-spiritedness. To think they were merely trying to do what I do now. And sometimes struggling.

One Reply to “Maurice Sendak on ageing…”

  1. Do you remember the bemused knowing looks of adults at outbursts of childish behaviour? A tinge of envy at the young one’s uncomplicated reasoning. To have remembered explosive moments of sheltered misunderstanding are a demonstration of successful parenting.


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