Monday, March 05, 2007

Absolute Mondays

Today was spent doing Absolute stuff. For the Absolute Stardust (which is technically not an Absolute Stardust but an oversized hardback Stardust with stuff in) I proofread all the extra material, added a postscript to the reprinting of the original "pitch document" to publishers from 1993 (did I really think that Croup and Vandemar belonged in Stardust?), and for the next volume of Absolute Sandman we dug out dozens of little thumbnail comics I'd drawn for Sandman over the years, found the still-unopened First Sandman Statue (#1 of 1800) in order to photograph the box for the book (which will also have the short story on the back of the box in it) and even found photocopies of the pencils of the first 8 pages of Sandman 23, which will probably be the script that gets published in the book.

Also mysterious boxes of stuff to do with beekeeping have arrived. I've always wanted bees in the garden, and it turned out that the birdchick has always wanted to be a beekeeper but didn't think that it would work, keeping bees in an apartment in Minneapolis, and anyway her rabbit would object, so we've agreed to join forces: she gets to keep bees in my garden, I get to help, and all our friends and loved ones get to keep their distance nervously and eat honey. What could possibly go wrong? In this way we shall make up for the vanishing of bees across America.

I've just heard that there will be a limited edition of M is for Magic, the story collection for young readers, from Subterranean Press. The copies in the bookshops will be illustrated by Teddy Kristiansen. The Subterranean edition will have illustrations by Gahan Wilson: one thousand numbered copies and 26 lettered copies -- details up at


Hi Neil, random question. So does Lorraine live there? Because she seems to be around all the time.

No, she has her own house, and she's goes there in the afternoon when she finishes work, and at weekends. It's a very nice house, filled with paintings, dead things and even a small Hallowe'en village. (As Lorraine was off in LA Hallowe'en week last year I got to go to her house to feed the trick-or-treaters -- because nobody ever comes to my house on Hallowe'en, possibly because it's too far from everything or too spooky or something -- and the kids all looked around when they came to the door and were impressed that someone had made that much effort for Hallowe'en, and I didn't have the heart to tell them that Lorraine's house was like that the rest of the year as well.)

Lorraine will not, however, be there next Sunday night, March the 11th. This is because Hera is going to be coming in from New Zealand and the two of them will be playing together in Stillwater, MN. (Details at Lorraine has been learning lots of Hera songs in preparation. Lorraine says that I should make a point of plugging the gig on this blog because that way the whole of Minneapolis will turn out to see them.

This is a photograph of Hera. Lorraine is certain that if I post it, the gig will be completely full. If you're in this part of the world, you should go. After all, it's Sunday Night in Winter in Minnesota; you have perhaps something else are you going to be doing?

I recall that a while ago you mentioned your daughters' fascination with a web site where photos of models and celebrities were retouched, often substantially. Here's a consumer software package that offers to do the same. It's been on Boing Boing so a hundred other fans have probably also sent you this link, but here it is in the unlikely event you haven't seen it yet.

But, but that's horrible. I mean, I looked at their gallery, and it seems to be software that turns photos of human beings into photos of soulless androids, and they are proud of it. All of their befores have interesting human faces. Their afters just look wrong...


Lots and lots of emails coming in each day from people with lists of questions for me to answer for their papers or magazines or websites -- normally five questions, for some reason. I explain why I don't do them here and here, and it's still true. I suppose it's probably time to amend the FAQ line thing to explain that not only do I not do homework for people, but alas, I don't answer lists of interview questions either. I might do if people would send in the time to answer them with the questions, mind you.

Were your high school english classes helpful to you as a writer, or were they a waste of time?Thanks, Amy

Probably more much helpful than a waste of time. I remember enjoying them, for the most part, although I sometimes suspect that if I'd come to Thomas Hardy on my own, when I was ready, I would have really enjoyed him, and instead I found English to be a sort of Thomas Hardy aversion therapy.

Truth to tell, when I became a writer I realised that a lot of stuff I had thought pointless at school was now desperately important, and I had to teach myself piles of history and geography and science that I hadn't bothered with, and which were now really interesting subjects because I had a use for them. Writing and English I always had a use for, and some fairly decent teachers so they were never boring.

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