Sunday, December 20, 2009

Meeting Neil Himself

Mel and I went to see Neil Gaiman in Cleveland October 4th. If you have never picked up a Gaiman book, DO IT NOW. It doesn't matter which one. If he wrote it, it's good.

So, here's me with Neil Gaiman signing my Graveyard Book (that's the Newberry Winner for last year for those of you who haven't read Gaiman):

ICU, Laura. Looking all smug while Neil signs your book. You bitch.

He was pretty damned amazing in person. I was actually in line for the loo when he walked in the back door of the massive Cleveland library and seriously, as he walked by, the entire line of women swooned. He's not conventionally handsome, but he has Presence.

He's sort of exactly how you'd imagine him to be. Very, VERY smart and darkly witty, enthusiastic about macabre and mythology and very personally invested in his writing. Seems like the kind of guy who'd be up for anything but also needs to be a hermit a lot of days. Kind of a mix of Edgar Allan Poe and Indiana Jones. He read from a children's book he wrote about a boy called Odd, then took some questions, then read from the Graveyard Book. Then he stuck around and got everyone's book signed (over 1000 people. He joked about icing his hand with frozen peas.) When he signed my book and [info]mlwl 's, he drew a little tombstone with our name on it with a moon hanging overhead. This is why we love Neil Gaiman.

He says he's not very good at poetry, but from the way he talked about it, I don't believe him. I'm hoping he'll publish some soon. I'm also hoping he'll write some lyrics for Tori Amos soon. The two of them inspire each other and I totally ship that. (You know, in an alternate universe where Amanda Palmer didn't exist so he needed to date yet another fantastic girl musician.)

One thing that he said that I really took to heart... he was asked something along the lines of "How do you write what you do?" and he answered, "I put one word after another." To me that was extremely profound. I think a lot of times I need to quit worrying and just put one word after another and let the story fly. All too often I forget that in the first draft, an author is merely a vessel. The second draft she has to be an author but that first time through, you just have to let it go and get it on the page.

Well, while I wasn't looking I've started a collection of signed books. Neil Gaiman, Lev Grossman, John Green, Stephenie Meyer...ugh, if I could just get Jo Rowling's siggy...

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget... "That's a waste of a perfectly good dragon!!!" I adore that man, even if he makes me have gross nightmares.