Archive | September, 2011

Maurice Sendak Interview on NPR, a Jerk who Jerks Tears

28 Sep

I don’t know whether to chalk up the unusually high caliber of this author interview to a rapport between the interviewee/interviewer that clearly predates the interview, or to the freedom to speak ones mind that is a hallmark of advancing age. Whatever the reason, what results is a rare gem: an interview with an author I actually enjoyed hearing. Although I usually toss kudos freely to NPR, the online stream I listen to most, bar none, when it comes to their interviews of authors, I usually have to set my headphones down and check in occasionally to hear if it’s over yet. The authors often come across as maudlin or self-congratulatory. Sometimes they’ll get a writer who puts on airs of humility, but the air is thin, and the tone practiced. It’s not that I need to like the writer. I don’t. And maybe that’s the problem I have with those sorts of interviews. I don’t know that they serve much purpose. There aren’t regular interviews of visual artists and, I believe, for good reason. The work should speak for itself. I’d rather, in fact, hear a reader’s review of the work and/or hear actors or others read parts of the work than have the author taking up precious airtime answering a question that’s been posed by a multitude of interviewers already. I run from these interviews, too, because I often think I’ll like the work but not the author or the interview, and don’t want to be swayed against buying the book. I don’t want to prejudice the pages that, in the end, have nothing to do with the interview. So, usually I don’t listen or cut it off after the first minute or two.

This one, however, kept me listening … maybe because Maurice Sendak is a hero of kids’ literature. Maybe because the only work of his I know well has so few words that I was affording him a few more. Likely, though, it’s that he’s old and I knew nothing of his race, orientation, history, or inspiration, and was pretty sure I wouldn’t find it in the pages of This Pig Wants to Party. From what Maurice and Fresh Air’s Terry Gross taught me, though, I may have been wrong. After hearing this interview, I will be buying the book and reading it like I’m back in English Lit.

Here, I invite you to listen to the interview. It presents an author who is refreshingly frank, sometimes annoying, completely misaligned with most of my ideals but – more importantly – is genuine. Ladies and gentleman, Maurice Sendak, the legend, and Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, who finally gave me an interview to trust.

I haven’t read this children’s book (This Pig Wants to Party) that is the subject of the interview but if anyone has and can make a recommendation, speak now or forever hold your peas.


Get Your Puzzles Here

25 Sep

MIA (Made In America). Props to my hometown, Beloit WI. Where things still get made.


Sign of the (Economic) Times part II

16 Sep

But there’s Sponge Bob!


Sign of the (Economic) Times

16 Sep

There are no bookstores remaining in the financial district.

I Thought Amex Was Above This

13 Sep

Should anyone be worried about the future of American Express?  I just got an announcement in the mail that I am APPROVED for a FREE 2012 BLUE Book Set (Retail Value: $44.98, I pay just shipping and handling of $4.58).  It’s presented as a “Free Gift” from Amex.  I actually considered it for a second and decided to go online to see what it looked like since this is often the kind of thing I find myself with too much of mid-January and am throwing out multiple freebie calendars, schedulers, etc.  But it’s also the kind of thing that I like to have lined up ahead of time — what am I going to be using for my personal calendar, since I’m a dinosaur of a mom, and which one is going to hang on the wall for me to show Z the days of the weeks, months, time going by.  So I was about to see if I could find a picture of it online when I noticed the find print “My No-Obligation-To-Buy Guarantee,” which of course means you are in fact obligating yourself to something.   So it turns out in addition to that snazzy book you’re about to pay them to send you, you’re also getting “Appointment Book Plan privileges,” which you get to enjoy year after year (at an unspecified price but the even finer print on the back of the notice, which looks like a bill to the unscrutinizing eye tells us its current cost is $27.99 for the appointment book and/or $16.99 for the mini-scheduler, which looks like the kind your dentist and vet sets out for free on their counters).  But you can turn this down, of course, before it arrives at the end of the year, you know when you’re in the middle of the end of year scramble of Christmas gifts and negotiating time off to travel and helping your kids through finals and absolutely exhausted.  But who doesn’t enjoy a morning just like this?  6 a.m., sorting through junk mail.

Thanks Amex.


1 Sep

Why does your spouse being mad at you make it feel so much like purgatory?


1 Sep

I work from home on Thursdays. The sitter/nanny brings Z home for her nap so she can sleep in familiar surroundings (spoiled, I know, from living so close – yes it is wonderful). Z, like me, takes her time waking up. That’s when I put work and the world on pause for a few minutes while we sit, and I just hold her. It’s a favorite part of my day.

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