Neil Gaiman
Journal Neil"s Work Cool Stuff & Things About Neil Message Boards Where"s Neil Search MouseCircus.Com FAQs
You are here: Home » Journal
Archives  |  RSS  |  Translations  |  Labels  |  Tumblr

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's he.........eere....

Pssst. This is now up and running. It's very skeletal right now. I suggested it, the webgoblin and the former webelf collaborated, I wrote some FAQs based on things people had asked on Twitter, Facebook or here, and we threw it up, figuring it was more important to get something up (two days before Hallowe'en) than to get it right.

Over the next year we'll make it perfect, and by the time for the run-up to next Hallowe'en I hope it'll be a real resource.

For now, it's a work in progress. But better than nothing.

Click on it and see.


(And if you don't know what or why, it started up here a few days ago at http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/10/modest-proposal-that-doesnt-actually.html)

Two book-buying days before Hallowe'en...

Thank you Dan Guy. Thank you Olga.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Neil Gaiman? What are you doing in my falafel?"


Outside it's raining - not hard, but continually - and the wind is alternately gusting and howling. Things that shouldn't be blowing over are blowing over, and I am less inclined to walk the dogs than I ought to be.

Cabal is walking better each day. Lola (who no longer looks like she did in http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/06/not-dead-yet.html) is about eight months old and as big as he is, or almost, and bounds through the undergrowth like a special effect of a sped-up weightless rocket-dog. I do not think this makes Cabal happy.

I never wrote about Lola, did I? I should, and will, but not today. But for those who are wondering... we adopted her through Petfinder.com, and we got her to be company for Cabal (we seemed so much happier when we had Pearl staying here). She's growing up, is terrifyingly smart, and in photos you can easily distinguish her from Cabal because his nose is pink while hers is black.

Hang on. Let me find a photo from the day when Amanda and I drove down to the Wisconsin Dells and got her...


Hm. It already seems impossible that Lola was ever that small. Or that it was that warm here or that the trees had leaves on them.

(For anyone going "How beautiful they are. I wish I had a White German Shepherd," right now Petfinder.com needs homes for 193 White German Shepherds. Do not get a German Shepherd (of any colour) unless you have lots of room for it, space for it to run, and are willing to put on your coat and boots and head back out into the wind and rain and walk it... sigh....)

...

This week my ARTHUR episode is up at the PBS site. It's only watchable from the US or with a US IP address, and I do not know how long it will stay up. But right now, you can see me and the Falafel in:

http://to.pbs.org/8Y8A4P

And Steve Fritz talks to me and PBS about it at http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5925092/an_animated_conversation_with_neil.html?cat=2
...

The next email came in back in May.

Now, I am very squeamish on all eyeball-related matters, and after I clicked on the links and looked at them, I thought these photos were beautiful, so I asked Alexx if he'd mind me putting them up on the blog. He said yes. Which was just about the point where the blog went onto a sort-of hiatus.

Today he wrote and reminded me (thank you, Alexx...) and I take great pleasure in putting them up here.

I know lots of people get tattoos based on your work -- but how many people get new eyeballs? My wife Kestrell, who is blind, and to whom I read the entirety of Sandman early in our relationship, finally convinced her ocularist to make her Delirium eyes.

I documented the whole process with pictures on my LJ. Some of the pictures may be not for the squeamish, but the whole thing is very educational. And at the end, Delirium eyes!

http://alexx-kay.livejournal.com/287659.html
http://alexx-kay.livejournal.com/287849.html
http://alexx-kay.livejournal.com/288231.html
http://alexx-kay.livejournal.com/288472.html
http://alexx-kay.livejournal.com/289581.html


...

I was thrilled to see Stephen King endorsing the instant All Hallow's Read tradition at http://www.stephenking.com/news.html (thank you, Steve), and to see the Washington Post blog take it up (and ask for #booksthatfreakedmeout on Twitter).

I finished reading Mary Ann in Autumn (here's the Harpers page for it, with lots of extras). It's as sharp and as timely and as humane as all of the Tales of the City books, and a ball that Armistead Maupin tossed into the air in the very first of the books finally comes down here. (And I went and checked my copy of Sure of You to see if he had done what I thought he had done, and he had.)

It goes on sale next week, but you can read the first six chapters at http://www.harpercollins.com/browseinside/index.aspx?isbn13=9780061470882.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Not Wearing My T-Shirt and vibrating ducks

Despite (possibly because of) not living in the UK for most of the year, I remain incredibly proud of the BBC.

It's facing a future of real-world budget cuts (of the kind that leaves me hoping that Doctor Who will not soon be about two people who live in a small flat in Cardiff having a tiddlywinks contest for the fate of the universe).

Mitch Benn is proud of it too. Watch this video to find out why and how...



Here's the story of how he made the video. He sent me my very own Proud of the BBC T-shirt which I would be wearing right now if it wasn't in the wash.

In lieu of me modelling it, I will simply point you to http://mitchbenn.com/proudofthebbc/
where you can get your own T-shirt. You can wear it all over the world to signify your pride in the BBC, or just show that you look wicked in a black T-shirt.

...

My episode of ARTHUR went out today in the US. (There are parts of the US where it has't gone out yet. Check your local listings. It's called Falafelosophy.) PBS have said they plan to get it up online soon - I'll put up a link when it is.

And here's an interview done by the Ace Hotel in New York when I stayed there. The interview includes vibrating ducks and the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Also a photograph of me playing the ukulele.



...

I loved this:

I have no idea whether this is the proper way to comment on blog entries. If it's wrong then just pretend that I didn't send it. :-)

A comment to the latest blog entry:

"You know, there aren't enough traditions that involve giving books."

When I and my husband moved in together, we joined our libraries. But we had one problem: all the books we both liked, and now had two copies of. In the beginning, we didn't do much about it. I mean - what if you decide you don't belong together anyway, then you want to take your books with you when you split, right? But after a while, we decided that we wanted to get rid of the duplicates - as a sign that we would live together forever, and not ever need two copies of Neverwhere again.

So we arranged our wedding according to this idea; we gave each of the guests one book (or cd) from our duplicates, so that they could share this decision with us. Also they got a good book - obviously it was a book that both me and my husband liked (Well - with the exception of The Sword of Shannara, which we would have given away both copies of if we had found anybody who wanted them. :-) and would have it as a memory of our wedding.

And yes, we've lived happily ever since (nine years now), I don't ever see the need of reacquiring any of the duplicates we gave away, and I like it as a ceremony; it had a lot more meaning to us than most kinds of wedding ceremonies.

Regards (and thanks for all those great books!)

Monika


and this:

Dear Mr Gaiman,

After reading your post about more book giving traditions I just wanted to point out (as I imagine a lot of other people will as well, but just in case they don't) that there is a Norwegian tradition of giving/reading detective/crime stories at Easter, known as påskekrim; this literally means 'Eastercrime'.

Best wishes
Solveig Felton -- Swedish, not Norwegian, just in case you actually read this far and wondered.

P.S. Thank you for writing! While I don't love everything you write (sorry!) I like most of it enough to always be willing to try a new book of yours and I love some of it to the point of plotting excuses to give the books to my friends.


And the idea of the All Hallow's Read has got some wonderful responses from bloggers. Monica Edinger talks about it over at the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/monica-edinger/my-response-to-neil-gaima_b_772941.html

...while The Bloggess not only blogs about it but includes a photograph of herself in the bath in The Shining at http://thebloggess.com/?p=8787

And Joe Hill, who wrote one of the scariest books of recent times in Heart-Shaped Box, endorses it and makes some suggestions over at http://joehillfiction.com/?p=1678

(Lots of excellent scary book suggestions over at http://www.facebook.com/neilgaiman as well.)

To clarify, I'm not proposing that you give books or comics instead of chocolate bars or razor-stuffed apples (if you're in a country that hands out candies on Hallowe'en). (Although some some people do that, and with success -- I've already heard from people who have gone down to charity shops and walked out with boxes of vintage R.L. Stine books that they plan to hand to kids).

I'm proposing something slightly different.

That you give someone a scary book this Hallowe'en.

You certainly don't have to give everyone you know a scary book. Just pick someone, or a few someones, you care about. Then give them a book this week that'll scare their hair white.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Modest Proposal (that doesn't actually involve eating anyone)

I was on a flight home last night, and I thought,

You know, there aren't enough traditions that involve giving books.

There's World Book Day, which grew out of Don Quixote Day/Cervantes Birthday/St George's Day in Spain, where roses and books are given, but really, we need some more instant traditions that involve the giving of books, the kind that spread all over the world.

And then I thought,

Hallowe'en's next weekend...

So:

I propose that, on Hallowe'en or during the week of Hallowe'en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they'll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they'll enjoy.

I propose that stories by authors like John Bellairs and Stephen King and Arthur Machen and Ramsey Campbell and M R James and Lisa Tuttle and Peter Straub and Daphne Du Maurier and Clive Barker and a hundred hundred others change hands -- new books or old or second-hand, beloved books or unknown. Give someone a scary book for Hallowe'en. Make their flesh creep...

Give a scary book.

If you don't know what kinds of books there are, or what would be appropriate for the person you're giving a book to, talk to a bookseller. They love to help, most of them. (The ones that don't tend not to be booksellers for long.) Talk to librarians. (Do not plan to give away their books though, unless they are having a library sale.)

That's it. That's my idea.

Scary book. Hallowe'en.

Who's with me?


Neil


(And for those of you who protest that, honestly, you need no excuse to give books as gifts, and you do it all the time, and it comes to you as naturally as breathing -- well, that's wonderful, and I'm glad. Think of this as your chance to spread books to people to whom you might not normally give books, or to receive books you might otherwise never read.)

.....


(Also for those of you who think that it's not proper blog post unless it has Dog Photos: Here are four photos by the Birdchick from today: one of Cabal, two of Lola, and one she took of me down by the beehives getting silly with the smoker.)




Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nine pictures from my life (and one drawing)

I'm not going to say a lot about Campfire, not what happened or who was there, because it was a very private sort of a thing.



At first I was suspicious. I've seen a lot of late 1960s and early 1970s SF television, and whenever a bunch of creative people are taken off by a private plane to a mysterious location, they are normally either brainwashed or replaced by exact duplicates who are sent back to society with a mysterious and probably fatal agenda.

Private plane. Check. Mysterious location. Check.

Uh-oh.

So I spent much of the journey to, and the first day at, Campfire convinced it was all much too good to be true, and expecting that when I went back to my room there would be my exact duplicate waiting in the wardrobe, holding a silvery gun...

Everything pointed to that. Aha, I thought, when the buses pulled up: THE COMPOUND. I was expecting barbed wire and enormous dogs and no way to let our loved ones know what had happened to us when the robot duplicates returned in our stead.

The Compound turned out to be a really nice local restaurant.

You could bring someone, and (as Amanda is still in Cabaret, and Maddy was on a school field-trip) I brought my literary agent, Merrilee Heifetz, not as my agent but as my friend of (now) 23 years. She had as good a time as I did.

Photo by Seth Godin

I left Campfire reinvigorated, excited about art, and looking forward to getting back to work and happy to be writing again. I saw some old friends, made a number of new friends, learned so much about so many things, and was happy.


These are two of the new friends I made -- Aubrey de Grey (on the left) and Dr Sarah Marr (who blogs at http://scidoll.com). Aubrey, who has a beard that rivals the young Alan Moore's, is an astonishing speaker and advocate for treating aging as a curable disease, and I spent most of the four hour flight from New York asking him hard questions and enjoying his answers. Their website is http://sens.org/, and I'm hoping to write more about Aubrey and Sens.org at some time soon. (And Sarah's promised me my own special link from here to sens.org when I do.)

And then I came home. (I came home with a signed copy of Armistead Maupin's Mary Ann in the Autumn, having told Armistead Maupin how much I felt Sandman had owed to Tales of the City. I'm reading it now and loving it.)

In the time that I was away, Maddy had grown even more, had a haircut and turned into a self-assured young woman....



Seen here with her actual and original dad, and almost definitely not a brainwashed or android duplicate sent back into the world to wreak havok:


Cabal is still recovering from his operations: his spine was decompressed, and now he's walking again. He can't run yet, and so he's always on a lead (er, leash to Americans) to stop him dashing off after an interesting rabbit.

Last night, in the small hours, he couldn't get up, and started screaming with pain. I've never heard him do that before. I know that German Shepherds have ridiculously high pain threshholds, so if it was hurting, it was hurting him more than anything has before. This was bad. I held him until he was able to stand, then gave him his medicine, and then worried about him, and still do, and will continue to do so until he's walking and running again without difficulty.

Meanwhile, Lola has grown several inches and put on many pounds (mostly by eating both of their dinners, I am convinced) and is beautiful and fast and incredibly smart.

But Cabal is still My Dog, and she is, well, not my dog in the same way. She's a good friend, he's family.




...

A couple of quick reminders: If you know what W00tstock is, you won't need to go to http://w00tstock.net/ to have it explained. If you don't know, you should go to http://w00tstock.net/ and read what you find there.

On November 2nd, I'll be standing in for Wil Wheaton at the Austin Texas W00tstock. There is much information on the evening and ticket-ordering information at http://www.austintheatre.org/site/Calendar/250633393?view=Detail&id=24581 I believe tickets are going extremely fast. And if you don't want to see me, there will be other people there, people of talent and humour. And if that isn't enough, I'm afraid Paul and Storm will almost certainly sing their Captain's Wife's Lament song.

Austin. The one in Texas. Three days before Guy Fawkes Night. Which they probably don't actually celebrate in Texas.

...


At one point I'm talking about the nature of privacy and blogging, and mention Amanda, who ponders (and, I think, in the end, disagrees with me) over at http://blog.amandapalmer.net/post/1344925312/the-mutation-of-embarrassment-art-random-thoughts-of in the kind of blog entry that has as much interesting stuff in the comments as in the journal.

...

And I got to see "Falalafelosophy", the episode of ARTHUR with me in it, playing a walking talking authory black cat named Neil Gaiman. It airs in the US on the 25th of October, although it's already crept out into the world in Australia and (I think) Canada.

It's funny and sweet, and it says things I believe in. I hope that every kid who watches it decides to make his or her own graphic novel.


Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Sandman Menu Defacement Perplex

I have gone to a sort of a VERY MYSTERIOUS weekend camp, at which everyone I had ever wanted to meet is just sort of hanging out and some of them are doing presentations, and chatting is happening, and it is all very wonderful and unlikely.

I'm not sure how private it's meant to be, so I'll keep silent for now, which is a sensible thing because there is nothing I could say that wouldn't sound like namedropping or madness (except that I owe Luis Alberto Urrea $20). I will say I am having a ridiculous amount of fun, am learning stuff, and whenever I get bored (which is very rarely) I am writing a thing that may be a ghost story.

And I would have put off this post for a couple of days, but I wanted to make sure that I let people know about this:


It is the link to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund eBay site, and it's up because they are auctioning off the doodles I did during the Annual CBLDF planning meeting. I defaced two sheets of notepaper and the takeaway menu.




...

Also, a reminder, as it is now out in paperback in the USA: you can watch (or listen) to me reading the entirety of The Graveyard Book for Free at http://www.mousecircus.com/videotour.aspx

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Personal Assistants and Why I am lucky

I have amazing assistants.

I really do. I'm lucky. First, foremost, and, I expect, forever, there's Lorraine, who has been my personal assistant now for about 18 years. This is Lorraine.




She arrived in 1992, a friend of some friends, just to help put the books on the shelves into alphabetical order, shortly after I moved to the US bringing my books with me, and she's never left. She's had to learn new skills, and face her fears (bees! airports! grumpy authors!), and is absolutely amazing.

Sometimes I listen to her on the phone, talking an airline into doing something they don't do, don't want to do, and if they did do it it would cost me thousands, and then she gets off the phone and says "all sorted. It'll cost you $25 for additional airport tax, but you're now re-routed round the world via Hobart..." It's like magic.

Somewhere in there she's filled her house with fostered Bengal cats, acquired a horse, played violin and sung in a variety of musical entities, garnered a fan-club, declined offers from other writers and organisations to go and run their lives, and, most recently, got herself fit. She says that what she's looking forward to most about the American Gods HOUSE ON THE ROCK gathering is practicing with roller derby girls.

And right now she's off on her first holiday in about 12 years. (It's not that I am an evil taskmaster, honest. She's hard to move. Her bengals get pissy, in all sorts of ways, if she vanishes, for a start.) But when I was invited to Octocon, the Dublin SF convention, and she was declining on my behalf, she happened to mention that she has wanted to visit Ireland for a very long time.

So next weekend, the Fabulous Lorraine will be a guest at Octocon. Prior to that, she will spent most of a week wandering around Ireland.

As a side-effect of getting fit, she's lost 25lb over the last few months, and none of her clothes fit her. This has not deterred her from going.

She and I discovered that if she flies out of Rochester rather than Minneapolis the price of her ticket plummeted. This is not a strange thing. The strange thing is that she is permitting Doctor Dan, our local Doctor, to fly her to Rochester in a small plane.

Small planes do not make Lorraine happy. When I go somewhere via small plane she is miserable, convinced that she needs to spend valuable working time mentally keeping the plane in the air.

That she is doing this, with enthusiasm, leaves me delighted and baffled. I think she will have a wonderful time in Ireland.


If you're at Octocon, or just in Ireland next week, say hello to her for me.

My other assistant is Cat Mihos, AKA Kitty.

This is Cat. (After a quick Google Image search I snaffled this picture from her myspace thingummy. Whenever I have seen her she has been much more dressed than this.)


She's not full time. Mostly, she's not my assistant. On the whole she goes on the road with people like Lady Gaga or the Jonas Brothers, making things good for them and their crew. We made friends when she was working for Tori Amos, seven years ago, and she taught Maddy how to bowl with lemons.

Somewhere in there, Cat started the Neverwear.net website, selling stuff she does that's me-derived: limited edition prints and tee-shirts and mousepads and such, along with jewelry and magnet-pictures she makes herself. (It's a non-profit site for me, in case you were wondering, as what would be my royalty on the stuff she makes and sells there goes to the CBLDF.)

When I'm in LA and she is, she'll drive me around, come to meetings with me, make my life easier. Here's Kitty blogging about having me in LA for a few days: http://kittysneverwear.blogspot.com/2010/02/whirling-dervishes.html

She also tends to be point person for fan-mail to me and requests for signed photographs and that kind of stuff (and if she goes on the road with Lady Gaga for 6 months, it can get very backed up, alas).

She's wonderful. She's produced some small films, and will, I suspect, one day be a film producer more than she is anything else.

And she's getting married today.

She's marrying Drew. This is Drew:



This is Kitty and Drew.


I'm in Baltimore tonight for the wedding. I will wear my amazing black velvet and stripy thing that Kambriel made me (as seen at http://kambriel.livejournal.com/289161.html, which also contains mermaids, for those of you missing party photos from the last blog entry, and also in http://kylecassidy.livejournal.com/622744.html, which has a wonderful photo of Kyle and me and my daughter the ineffable Holly Gaiman).

If you want to give Cat a wedding present, go and buy something cool from her Neverwear site. (She is going to be putting the prices up on some of the limited edition prints very soon, which she does when the stocks begin to dwindle and before they go out of print, so right now the Jim Lee print of my poem "100 Words" and the Molly Crabapple illustrated "Desert Wind" are probably the smartest things to buy.)

I'm going to read "Instructions" at Cat's wedding tonight. But before then, I need to put on the posh clobber.

And shave.

Actually, I should probably stop blogging and shave.

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Big Blog on a train

Another strange week.

Not, by any means, a bad week. Just strange. Still behind on work, and shuttling between Boston and New York.

I went to New York on Friday, got there in time to catch Michael Chabon and Zadie Smith reading at the New Yorker Festival, which had brought me in. I nearly disgraced myself by fainting during Michael's reading but managed not to (it was a close thing, and a long story). Here's a too-dark photo of Michael and Zadie afterwards.




The hotel that the New Yorker was putting me up in had the best view in the world, even if you were in the bath:



On Saturday, I went and had free ice cream with Daniel Handler (as announced on this blog). I would have liked to meet author Lemony Snicket, but unfortunately he was mysteriously detained and Mr Handler showed up as his representative.

This photograph commemorates the event. I am on the left. Mr Handler is holding the ice cream.

Since this photograph was taken I have had a haircut.

Then Holly and I went off with the lovely Claudia Gonson and her beautiful new baby Eve. We had sushi, except for Eve, and then went to the Evolution shop where I bought a replica Dodo Skull.



The dodo skull was a present for Countess Cynthia Von Buhler, whose birthday it was. She's an illustrator and artist who also throws parties, and that night was her birthday party, and she had also decided to celebrate Amanda's and my engagement.

There were dead mermaids, and there was a carousel on the roof.

I have never been to a party like it, nor do I ever expect to go to such a party again. If you can win at parties, Cynthia (who was a mermaid, first in a bathtub, and later carried around on a bed) won.

The next morning Dana Goodyear interviewed me for the New Yorker Festival, which was hugely enjoyable. (You can read an Entertainment Weekly summary at http://shelf-life.ew.com/2010/10/06/5584/).

And then back up to Boston. And now on the train back to New York again for an event to celebrate the Best American Comics 2010, which I've guest-edited.


...

This morning I learned that I am one of 175 nominees for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award: http://alma.se/en/Nominations/Candidates/2011-eng/

I don't know all the other 175 nominees, but the ones I do know make me feel both happy and profoundly unworthy to be on that list. (Quentin Blake is there. And David Almond.)

(Incidentally, Dave McKean gave me a copy of Slog's Dad, a story by David Almond he illustrated, and it's touching and beautiful and the kind of thing that just sits in your memory and makes you wonder. Here's a review at the FPI blog.)

(And Dave McKean is interviewed over at Bookslut about the reissue of Cages: http://www.bookslut.com/features/2010_10_016702.php)

...

The Graveyard Book is now out in the US in Paperback. I keep forgetting to mention that. Here's an AMAZON Link to prove it. And here's the Indiebound link, to help you buy it from an Indie Bookseller.

And here's the list of US public libraries, in case you just want to borrow it from your library and read it.

...


This came in this morning from the Hurricane Intermediate School.

WE are a 6th and 7th grade public school library. A student came to us with the book Stardust and showed to us on pg. 69 that the word F**K is in the story. If this is not what you want your students to read please do not purchase this book for your library or home.

Very wise advice. Although I am not sure why if you do not want your students to read it you should not buy a copy for your home. Also I have no idea why you sent that to me. But that's certainly one reason why Stardust isn't marketed for the 6th grade. It's an adult novel that was given the YALSA award for being an Adult book that teens like, and was republished as a Young Adult title in the US, but not as a children's book.

And on the subject of upsetting or offending people,

one sentence in Graveyard Book said “mass graves is a good place for munching a meal".it is insulting to Chinese!
I know you are just for fun, but I cannot bear it!


I wrote back and explained that

in English it says "Plague pits is good eating". Were there Chinese plague pits? And can you explain to me why it is insulting to Chinese people? I would hate unwittingly to insult the Chinese, and want to know why it is insulting.

This was the reply

I am sorry, for what book I have read was translated into Chinese, for the sentence that you wrote as "Plague pits is good eating" translated in Chinese means that "ten thousands of men were torture to dead and buried in pits" and it happened in 1910s to 1930s when Chinese Government at that time was very weak, and the country was colonized by some westen countries and Japan, our government could not protect his people, so the workers in factories that invested by foreign countries such as coal miners died many during that time!
By now I know it is translator's fault, not of yours.

Chinese translation shows below:
"Plague pits is good eating" in Chinese that I translate means “鼠疫坑很好吃”is not insulting.
and the translation in the book that the translator wrote "万人坑很好吃" is insulting


Ah. Apologies to any offended Chinese readers (although given that this blog is usually cut off behind the great firewall of China I do not know if anyone will read it.)


Over at http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2010/04/what-neil-gaiman-said.html Debbie Reese correctly called me out earlier this year on something particularly stupid and offensive I said last year when I was asked at ABA about why I hadn't set The Graveyard Book in the US. I think I mostly was trying to answer with my Author Head rather than my Being Interviewed Head -- trying to describe how I perceived my potential cast of characters in a European Style graveyard in a small US city (like the UK one in The Graveyard Book). I remember thinking at the time that it was a remarkably stupid thing to have said, but stupid things come out of your mouth when you're being interviewed, and you press on.

I was put out of sorts by Deb's initial post (mostly because I was reading it going "but that OBVIOUSLY wasn't what I meant"), and was idiotically grumpy on Twitter, but when I was called on it (by Pam Noles), and finally looked at the actual words recorded, I realised that people were perfectly sensibly taking what I said to indicate that I thought that a) the US was pretty much unpopulated before the arrival of the white colonists in the 17th century, and/or that b) I was being dismissive of the slaughter of Native Americans, or simply that c) Native Americans were somehow inconsequential in the history of the Americas. (None of which was my intention. But intentions only take you so far.) And you don't use a phrase like "dead Indians" without summoning, wittingly or unwittingly, the shadow of the phrase "the only good Indian is a dead Indian".

People have asked how I would have felt about the phrase "a few dead Jews" in the same place in the interview, which made me feel additionally guilty, as one of the things I missed about The Graveyard Book was that I didn't actually put any Jews in my graveyard. I wanted to, but couldn't make the history and the burial customs work.

Probably I should write a Graveyard Book story with some secretly buried Jews in it, and some dead Native Americans a very long way from home.

Anyway, apologies to all concerned, particularly to Debbie Reese.


My sister sent me The Graveyard Book to read for Halloween. I just finished it. I enjoyed it until I got to the "extras" at the back of the book.
Why did you feel the need to mention Stephen Colbert in your Newberry Medal Acceptance Speech? Now it is forever in print at the back of the book. What a shame. Your stories will live on long after nobody knows or cares who he ever was. I think you should be much more far-thinking before you clog your speeches and especially your books with flash-in-the-pans.


Why. Er. Because I wanted to? Because it made my son happy that I was on his show, and there is nothing flash-in-the-pan about your children's happiness? Because it's a Newbery Acceptance Speech given in 2009, and it talks about 2009 things? Because Mr Colbert quotes J.R.R. Tolkien's description of Tom Bombadil?

Here's the link to the Colbert Report episode in question. See if it changes your mind, miffed correspondent. I'm in a slightly fragile state (wearing the suit I just wore through my Dad's funeral) and he is very kind.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Neil Gaiman
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive


One of the things I particularly enjoy about your work is that it usually feels like you have a consistent and relatively complete world worked out around the story you're telling. I've been working on such a world in my head for months, and it's at the point where said head will explode if I don't write it down soon, but my problem is I don't know where to start. When you start working on a story set in a new universe, where do you find it easiest to begin?

Begin with the story. Always begin with the story. (Unless you're Lud in the Mist.) The world is there for the story to happen in. Here and now, you don't need to tell the history of the world before you start telling a story that happened on the Isle of Man. You tell the story and let the background and the history creep in where it's needed. The same goes for worlds you've built yourself.

Train is pulling in to Penn Station.

Which means there is just time to point out that the Big Best News of the day is that the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder in beehives may have been discovered:

Labels: , , , , ,

<< Previous [Home] Next >>
Archives  |  RSS  |  Translations  |  Labels  |  Tumblr

Upcoming Release


Soon in Paperback


My current crusade is to make sure creative people have wills. Read the blog post about it, and see a sample will.