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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

advice

I'm fairly nervous about teaching at Clarion this year. I said no when asked for years, because I wasn't sure what I had to teach anyone about writing. Mostly I figure I'm still figuring it out myself. I finally said yes, and I still don't think I know enough to dare to actually teach anyone.

In the shower today I tried to think about the best advice I'd ever been given by another writer. There was something that someone said at my first Milford, about using style as a covering, but sooner or later you would have to walk naked down the street, that was useful...

And then I remembered. It was Harlan Ellison about a decade ago.

He said, "Hey. Gaiman. What's with the stubble? Every time I see you, you're stubbly. What is it? Some kind of English fashion statement?"

"Not really."

"Well? Don't they have razors in England for Chrissakes?"

"If you must know, I don't like shaving because I have a really tough beard and sensitive skin. So by the time I've finished shaving I've usually scraped my face a bit. So I do it as little as possible."

"Oh." He paused. "I've got that too. What you do is, you rub your stubble with hair conditioner. Leave it a couple of minutes, then wash it off. Then shave normally. Makes it really easy to shave. No scraping."

I tried it. It works like a charm. Best advice from a writer I've ever received.

..

Dear Mr. Gaiman,

are Bill Hader and Doug Jones really tall, or are you much (much) shorter than I've ever pictured?

Best wishes,

J.V


Bill Hader is a few inches taller than I am, but he's normal-human-being-tall (and in the photo, Bill's closer to the camera than Doug or me, too). Doug Jones, on the other hand, is inhumanly tall -- as Abe Sapiens he towered over Hellboy, as the Silver Surfer he towered over Ben Grimm, as the faun in Pan's Labyrinth he towered over, well, a little girl, but he's absolutely ridiculously gobsmackingly tall anyway. Also astoundingly nice.

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