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Monday, April 30, 2007

Some animal thoughts...

Fred the cat tends to get into scrapes while I'm away, and I arrived home yesterday to find him with half of his face shaved and on antibiotics, having tangled with something. Whenever he gets into fights he gets infected. Tonight he's staying with the vet as the infection got worse.

I ought to be very worried, but I'm not. I suppose by now I think he'll pull through because he always pulls through. He must be on life 15 or 16 by now: last year when I was on tour with Fragile Things, I was called about a minute before the Google Author Talk and informed that Fred had to be put down (which left me pretty shaken), but it didn't happen. He got through that, just as he gets through everything else.

Some animals are survivors.

Maddy's largest goldfish is called Moonbeam, and he's about nine years old, and has outlived every other goldfish we've ever had, and even survived an accidental case of poisoning about five years ago that killed off everyone else. He's now about a foot long. And there were five fish in that tank two weeks ago. The two smaller ones have now mysteriously gone, and Moonbeam looks astonishingly well-fed and happy, and I suspect that I need to rethink the whole Where The Goldfish Are situation.

I recorded the previously unrecorded tracks from M Is For Magic today in Minneapolis. Very different stories -- it was fun recording them though. Two from when I was very young ("How to Sell the Ponti Bridge" and "The Case of the Four And Twenty Blackbirds"), one from about Ten Years Ago ("Don't Ask Jack", which I couldn't believe I hadn't already recorded. You can see Jack here) and one story from when I was older ("The Witch's Headstone" now just out in WIZARDS:Magical Tales From the Masters of Modern Fantasy).

Like all audio recording it was fun, and then it got harder, and then I walked away quite braindead. I don't know anything else that's quite so exhausting in the same way. Still, I love doing the audiobooks. (And I just realised we need to update the information at http://www.neilgaiman.com/works/audio/)

(Teddy Kristiansen just sent me a link to his blog, where you can see the M Is For Magic cover, from roughs to finished painting: http://teddykristiansenblog.blogspot.com/2007/04/work-process.html)

On the way home from the recording, driving through the rain, just as I pulled off the freeway to head home, I saw a large, pale dog on the side of the sliproad. I went in a couple of seconds from a first glance thought of "Oh, he's just wandering around and knows exactly what he's doing," to, on a second glance, "He's absolutely terrified and if he isn't actually lost he's really scared of all the cars and in danger of bolting onto the freeway," .

I pulled over, crossed the road and hurried across to where he was. He backed away, skittish and nervous, then came over to me, shaking. No collar or information, just a choke chain. And big. And very wet and very muddy. With cars going past, I decided the wisest thing to do was to put him into my car while I figured out what to do. The car was the Mini. I opened the door and he clambered in. The dog took up most of the Mini that I wasn't in and a fair amount of the Mini that I was in. Big dog, small car.

I phoned my assistant Lorraine, and asked her to let the local Humane Society (really nice people with a no kill policy) know we'd be coming in soon with a dog, then I drove home, narrowly avoiding death on the way (it's amazing how much you can't see when a huge dog fills the car and your field of vision). I ran around the garden with Dog until he'd tired me out. (I really hope he'd just got lost, and his family are looking for him; it would be hard to imagine someone abandoning a dog that cool.) Then I put him into the back of a car much bigger than the Mini and took him to the Humane Society, where they fawned all over him. ("I think he's a husky-wolf cross," said the Humane lady who took him, and she could be right.)

I think he's probably a survivor too.

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