We make too much history.

With or without us

there will be the silence

and the rocks and the far shining.

But what we need to be

is, oh, the small talk of swallows

in evening over

dull water under willows.

To be we need to know the river

holds the salmon and the ocean

holds the whales as lightly

as the body holds the soul

in the present tense, in the present tense.

- Ursula Le Guin

- photo by Gregory Crewdson

My Brother’s Book: Maurice Sendak’s Posthumous Love Letter to the World


“Because love is so enormous, the only thing you can think of doing is swallowing the person that you love entirely.”

For those of us who loved legendary children’s book author Maurice Sendak — famed creator of wild things, little-known illustrator of velveteen rabbitsinfinitely warm heartinfinitely witty mind — his death in 2012 was one of the year’s greatest heartaches. Now, half a century after his iconic Where The Wild Things Are comesMy Brother’s Book (public libraryUK) — a bittersweet posthumous farewell to the world, illustrated in vibrant, dreamsome watercolors and written in verse inspired by some of Sendak’s lifelong influences: Shakespeare, Blake, Keats, and the music of Mozart. In fact, a foreword by Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt reveals the book is based on the Bard’s “A Winter’s Tale.”

It tells the story of two brothers, Jack and Guy, torn asunder when a falling star crashes onto Earth. Though on the surface about the beloved author’s own brother Jack, who died 18 years ago, the story is also about the love of Sendak’s life and his partner of fifty years, psychoanalyst Eugene Glynn, whose prolonged illness and eventual loss in 2007 devastated Sendak — the character of Guy reads like a poetic fusion of Sendak and Glynn. And while the story might be a universal “love letter to those who have gone before,” as NPR’s Renee Montagne suggests in Morning Edition, it is in equal measure a private love letter to Glynn. (Sendak passed away the day before President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, but Sendak fans were quick to honor both historic moments with a bittersweet homage.)

Indeed, the theme of all-consuming love manifests viscerally in Sendak’s books. Playwright Tony Kushner, a longtime close friend of Sendak’s and one of hismost heartfelt mourners, tells NPR:

There’s a lot of consuming and devouring and eating in Maurice’s books. And I think that when people play with kids, there’s a lot of fake ferocity and threats of, you know, devouring — because love is so enormous, the only thing you can think of doing is swallowing the person that you love entirely.

My Brother’s Book ends on a soul-stirring note, tender and poignant in its posthumous light:

And Jack slept safe
Enfolded in his brother’s arms
And Guy whispered ‘Good night
And you will dream of me.’

Daughter Jen Jones creates a documentary about her father, Captain America Jones

Captain America Jones’ 101st Adventure was to march around the world carrying the American flag and the flag of each country he walked through.  His motive was to salute veterans everywhere and promote good will.  He toured the world for a better part of his adult life, performing feats of endurance and strength, often risking his life to expand mankind’s perception of human potential and inspire individuals to higher levels of positive performance.  But Alan Michael Jones met his maker before his 101st adventure was realized.  Daughter Jen Jones sees 101 Adventures as a gift her father bestowed upon her so she can carry on the dream of Captain America Jones.  She is now in pre-production of a documentary about her father that will speak to the human spirit and remind people of Captain America’s legacy, that there are amazing performances within us all.