Oh, I adored Mickey Mouse when I was a child. He was the emblem of happiness and funniness. You went to the movies then, you saw two movies and a short. When Mickey Mouse came on the screen and there was his big head, my sister said she had to hold onto me. I went berserk.
I'm not Hans Christian Anderson. Nobody's gonna make a statue in the park with a lot of scrambling kids climbing up me. I won't have it, okay?
When I did 'Bumble-ardy,' I was so intensely aware of death. Eugene, my friend and partner, was dying here in the house when I did 'Bumble-ardy'. I did 'Bumble-ardy' to save myself. I did not want to die with him. I wanted to live, as any human being does.
I want to be alone and work until the day my heads hits the drawing table and I'm dead. Kaput. I feel very much like I want to be with my brother and sister again. They're nowhere. I know they're nowhere and they don't exist, but if nowhere means that's where they are, that's where I want to be.
I think people should be given a test much like driver's tests as to whether they're capable of being parents! It's an art form. I talk a lot. And I think a lot. And I draw a lot. But never in a million years would I have been a parent. That's just work that's too hard.
Most children - I know I did when I was a kid - fantasize another set of parents. Or fantasize no parents. They don't tell their real parents about that - you don't want to tell Mom and Dad. Kids lead a very private life. And I was a typical child, I think. I was a liar.
Kids don't know about best sellers. They go for what they enjoy. They aren't star chasers and they don't suck up. It's why I like them.
I did not know how to paint a mural. I did not know how to prepare the surface. There was nobody from the Renaissance around who could advise me, and I did the best I could.
I have to accept my role. I will never kill myself like Vincent Van Gogh. Nor will I paint beautiful water lilies like Monet. I can't do that. I'm in the idiot role of being a kiddie book person.
When Mozart is playing in my room, I am in conjunction with something I can't explain... I don't need to. I know that if there's a purpose for life, it was for me to hear Mozart.
You know who my gods are, who I believe in fervently? Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson - she's probably the top - Mozart, Shakespeare, Keats. These are wonderful gods who have gotten me through the narrow straits of life.
That always seemed to be the most critical test that a child was confronted with - loss of parents, loss of direction, loss of love. Can you live without a mother and a father?
Girls are infinitely more complicated than boys and women more than men. And there's no doubt about that. We just don't like to think about it. Certainly the men don't like to think about it.
I write books that seem more suitable for children, and that's OK with me. They are a better audience and tougher critics. Kids tell you what they think, not what they think they should think.
To get a child's trust - you may know or not - is a very hard thing to do. They're so used to not believing adults - because adults tell tales and lies all the time.
I remember how much - when I was a small boy I was taken to see a version of 'Peter Pan.' I detested it. I mean, the sentimental idea that anybody would want to remain a boy.
Certainly we want to protect our children from new and painful experiences that are beyond their emotional comprehension and that intensify anxiety; and to a point we can prevent premature exposure to such experiences.
I mean, being a child was being a child, was being a creature without power, without pocket money, without escape routes of any kind. So I didn't want to be a child.
I'm writing a poem right now about a nose. I've always wanted to write a poem about a nose. But it's a ludicrous subject. That's why, when I was younger, I was afraid of something that didn't make a lot of sense. But now I'm not. I have nothing to worry about. It doesn't matter.
If life is so critical, if Anne Frank could die, if my friend could die, children were as vulnerable as adults, and that gave me a secret purpose to my work, to make them live. Because I wanted to live. I wanted to grow up.