I Saw Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman in Philly

Look, there he is in Philly, looking….just like he looks in a photograph. Which this is. Oh. But really, he does look like he’s supposed to and he sounds like he’s supposed to and he reads from his book REALLY well.

I got to go in to the city all by myself last night, like a big girl, on the train and everything. I was ridiculously anxious for a laid-back person, and it took about five stations and eleven rows on my new sock before my separation anxiety abated (clearly I don’t get out enough).

Nobody's Monkeys
(Hello, sock!)

So the author, instead of reading a short bit and answering a couple of questions and then sitting at a desk while people file by for hours on end, has decided to read a chapter at each stop, answer some questions and let the bookstore sell pre-signed books. I applaud the decision. We were entertained for a good couple of hours and didn’t have to stand in any lines at all, which I probably wouldn’t have done anyway.

The Graveyard Book starts off describing a family’s murder, in a very disturbing fashion, including the murderer creeping up on an 18 month old. Particularly disturbing if you happen to be a parent, (I can’t imagine that my 15 year old nephew will be quite so freaked) but it quickly moves on to the warm and fuzzy part. Of course, in a Neil Gaiman book, the warm and fuzzy part includes dead people and possibly vampires and something unspeakable living under a hill, but still manages to be warm and fuzzy and funny.

If you get a chance to go and see him, I’d recomend it. For someone who writes so creepily, he comes across as a surprisingly nice guy, and witty in that very dry, British kind of way, which cracks Americans up. (If British people over here always look a little startled, it’s because we can’t quite get used to our weak attempts at humour being greeted with such generous laughter instead of sarcasm).

In case you don’t get a chance, they’re broadcasting the whole thing, as recorded at each stop here. (I was sitting right next to the camera at this stop so while you won’t see me, there’s a chance you may hear me chuckle, depending on how they did the sound. Either way, you’ll have almost exactly the same view I had, from the third row.

Apparently it’s modelled on The Jungle Book. Must go back and read that.

I had a fun time. It was nice to crawl out of my rut and squint around at what’s going on outside.

In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron advocates taking at “Artist’s Date” each week. It can be something as simple as buying yourself new crayons and colouring in, or it can be going to look at something beautiful, or it can be something like i did last night. Now I see the value. I was inspired. Not to write a book about dead people and graveyards, mind you, but just to do the thing I love to do.

I think I have to. Otherwise, what’s the point of all this thinking I do?


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