What Maurice Sendak Taught Me

What’s the best thing about being an author?  Signing books for kids.

It’s not enough to just sign your name. Not for me, anyway. I like to write special messages. If I’ve got time, I’ll write a personalized note for each individual reader.

I do this because, years ago, I interviewed Maurice Sendak for a radio show I was producing. After our chat, he was kind enough to sign a copy of “Where the Wild Things Are” for me. Only, he didn’t just sign his name.  He spent five minutes drawing three of his beloved monsters, waving to me from the title page.

I’m no Sendak, but I still believe in giving people more than just a lousy autograph. So I write little messages like this:

my autograph - you are faster 2

I’m a walking fortune cookie, I know.

Here’s my favourite.  I’ve only written this in one or two books so far:

my autograph - coupon 1

I have no idea who wound up getting that copy of the book. I hope he or she drops me a line sometime. I’d really love to go for that jog.

Last week, after speaking to a class of kids in grades 5 and 6 (my second favourite thing in the world is going into classrooms and telling kids about running 100 mile races and making their dreams come true), all the kids wanted my autograph. Huge thrill! Some of the kids had copies of my book, but quite a few didn’t. So I wound up signing not only copies of Ultra, but also math notebooks, agendas, even post-it notes.

In return, some of the kids gave me their autographs too!

Card from kids

Here are a couple of my favourites:

agatha's note

Noah's note

8 thoughts on “What Maurice Sendak Taught Me

  1. You should have given a spoiler alert on the kids’ autographs…now I know Quinn wins! ;^) Love the running coupon. I hope someone takes you up on it. I was thinking yesterday about your post about the pursuit of 2. I was pursuing the number 4…wanted to run sub 3:50. Finished yesterday in Hamilton in 3:49;25. See you in Boston 2015?!

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