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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Memory

How to tell my dogs apart in the water. Cabal looks like this:



While Lola looks like this.



Or this.


Or this.

...

These were the blog posts I wrote here exactly ten years ago:

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

The phone lines to New York aren't doing anything, and the cell phone numbers I've been dialling are dead. I'm scared for my friends. Watching CNN, worrying.

posted by Neil Gaiman 9:12 AM




Now got BBC America on. Many e-mails from friends to say they are alive... Many more I'm waiting to hear from.

Was meant to be going to the UK in a couple of days for Douglas Adams' memorial service, and then to Trieste in Italy for a festival. Right now we'll see whether or not planes are going to be flying...

posted by Neil Gaiman 10:24 AM


This is what I did today.

I picked up lots of fallen sunflowers and propped them against the side of the house for no real reason other than they looked nice like that. I did some baking. I wrote some of a movie. I phoned friends I hadn't talked to in a while, just to say hello. I failed completely to get hold of anyone in New York by phone. I answered the phone a lot, because there were people calling in from New York. I decided not to fly to London on Saturday. I watched the documentary on The Wicker Man on the DVD (puzzled that the version I taped from the TV years ago is longer than the theatrical version, and shorter than the 99 minute 'extended' one). I read a book about the Lazzi (or comedy routines and business) of the commedia dell'arte, with a weird sort of theory that they might make a metaphor. Cleaned the catboxes. Worried about the last couple of friends of mine in New York I've not heard from yet. Read Maddy tonight's chapter of Howl's Moving Castle. Made a Red Cross donation at Amazon.com. Taught Maddy several card tricks.

Trying to assert normality.

There are worse ways to spend a day.


posted by Neil Gaiman 1:16 AM



A few days later the servers for AmericanGods.com, where the blog was located, were in New York, and got some kind of virus, so the entry that was up at the top of the blog was the entry for June the 18th 2001, which finished,

See you at Borders World Trade Centre tomorrow, if you`re in the NY area. The Libretto is working fine but if the bloody thing has a real apostrophe I can`t find it. So I`m using these.

The American Gods tour began in the World Trade Centre, and then I got home from the tour and nobody would ever sign in that bookshop ever again.

It's weird reading some of the old posts, and remembering:

From Sept 14th 2001, two posts:

An e-mail arrived in the FAQ thing explaining, very reasonably, that AMERICAN GODS made the World Trade Centre Disaster happen. It began by quoting Jerry Falwell's recent comments, The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' And then explained that the reader had read much of American Gods before realising that even reading it was an act of idolatrous demon-worship, and had burned his copy. (Or her copy, I suppose.) It wanted to know if I was happy now?

The implication, I guess, was that God was just about tolerating the pagans, Lesbians, ACLU etc., but then American Gods was published, and it tipped Him over the edge.

Insert picture of author here, sighing, shaking his head, getting back to work.

...


Lots of nice letters from religious people of all stripes and sects who like reading books, disavowing both Mr Falwell and the previous correspondent. S'okay. While I didn't take it any more seriously than the American Family Association "boycott" of Sandman (like Donald Wildmon and his people were buying Sandman to begin with) I did take it as a cautionary tale,and a reminder: as long as you know who God wants you to hate and to hurt then anything you do to them is justified.

Abbot Arnold's line in the Albigensian Crusades (around 1210 from memory) still turns up on Tee shirts. The Albigensian Crusade was an internal French Crusade to root out heresy. When Arnold was asked how the troops would know how to tell the heretics from the believers in the city of Beziers, he replied simply, "Kill them all. God will know his own."



and a few days later...

And an e-mail comes in on FAQ with a heartfelt request:

Will you try to use your status as a celebrity to protect against the violence done to Muslim Americans? I'm sure and other famous people speaking out against these acts would be great...


Well, sure, for whatever good it will do. The people who would do violence to Muslims, or to Americans of Arab descent, are probably not reading this blogger. (And considering the first death in 'retaliation' of an American was some people in Arizona shooting a Sikh (from the Punjab, and, as a Sikh, obviously not a follower of Islam), I don't even think that, for example, explaining that the Taliban no more represents Islam than Torquemada and his thugs represented Christianity or the Nazi Party represented neo-paganism would do much good. The Arizonans who killed the Sikh spotted the guy with the beard in the turban and figured that the gentleman had committed the crime of being brown-skinned and foreign, and that was enough for them.)

(And me, I wish people would reread Sandman # 50, RAMADAN, and the ifrit chapter in American Gods.)
posted by Neil Gaiman 12:33 AM


and finally, from Trieste, on September the 23rd 2001..

It rained all day today -- grey, and misty. Yesterday, also in the rain, we walked across the Square of Unity, and found ourselves watching jugglers and suchlike, in unconvincing costumes, and a parade of re-enactors from nearby towns, wearing things people didn't wear, carrying weapons they didn't have. It's all going renfest, I think. The whole bloody world. Not that I minded; there's nothing to cheer you up like other people wearing wet chainmail.

En route today to the home of Maximilian, the rain forced us into a dry space which happened to be holding an exhibition of Robert Capa photographs: astonishing stuff, of the Spanish Civil War, of the Second World War, of the Japanese-Chinese War of 1938, and I found myself looking at the photos of combat, of wounded civilians, of people whose worlds had crumbled and fallen, without any sense of irony. These people were us. Whatever side they were on. They were us, and the images had a truth and an immediacy I couldn't have imagined until recently.


...

I'm typing up Fortunately, The Milk, a very silly children's book that Dave McKean will draw (and he made me promise that after this, the next thing we do will be very dark and very adult). I finished writing it yesterday, and called Dave and read it to him. It was meant to be about the length of The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish, but it's actually about four or five times as long.

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