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Monday, August 05, 2013

I bet you thought I was dead...



I'm not really sure what it says about the last month and a half that the last actual blog post was the day before THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE was published, June the 17th.  Mostly it probably says that when I had any down time I was too tired to blog.

So I will do a brief recap of what happened.

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE was published. It went to #2 in the UK (beaten by Dan Brown) and to #1 in the US. It's still on both bestseller lists, six weeks later. (I think it's now at #7 in the US.)

The reviews have been fantastic. Ones that made me particularly happy would include the New York Times review

“Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet,” Neil Gaiman writes in his slim, dark dream of a new novel, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane.” “But they are never lost for good.” Who we used to be sometimes seems like a faint shadow of who we are now, but Gaiman helps us remember the wonder and terror and powerlessness that owned us as children.(...)Gaiman is especially accomplished in navigating the cruel, uncertain dreamscape of childhood.
There is a moment, toward the end of this novel, when the narrator drops into the duck pond (or ocean, as the Hempstocks call it), and his mind melts and achieves a kind of transcendent understanding: “I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality I knew was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger.”
Which replicates the experience I have whenever reading one of Gaiman’s books. His mind is a dark fathomless ocean, and every time I sink into it, this world fades, replaced by one far more terrible and beautiful in which I will happily drown.

And A.S. Byatt reviewing it in the Guardian (!), and, well, hundreds of reviews, actually, and I've lost all the links now. But people, on the whole, have liked it.

There have been lots of interviews with me. In some of them I say the same things, and in some I say different things. For example, here's the Financial Times asking rapid-fire questions.

I went on a tour. Sometimes I was on a bus, and sometimes I wasn't. I didn't get a lot of sleep, and I signed many many thousands of books for many thousands of really astonishingly nice and patient people.


(Photo by the invaluable Cat Mihos.)

I'll grab some accounts from people's blogs (thank you, denizens of Twitter for pointing me at some good ones): Here's an account of the Symphony Space evening, when I was interviewed by Erin Morgenstern.  Here's a beautiful account of the Chicago signing, from someone standing next to me making it all work. And here's another, with photo of lovely people who ran the event too.

After Portland, I went ot Seattle and had a magical break in order to teach 18 of the smartest writers I've ever encountered how to... well, I'm not sure what I taught them how to, actually. Mostly I learned from them. But they were students at Clarion West: I inherited them from Elizabeth Hand, and I passed them on to Joe Hill, and I think they all have a great future ahead of them. (Over 700 writers applied for the 18 places.)

You can see some of them (and me) if you click on this link, then go to extreme right of the third row: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/interactive/2013/aug/03/selfies-celebrity-instagram-twitter-photography

Then I went back on the road. It turns into a bit of blur again immediately, because a plane tragically crashed in San Francisco on landing, which threw all plans into disarray closed off a runway and meant that the following day I didn't get to Ann Arbor until two hours after the signing was meant to have started, and everyone was really nice...

My bag was lost and spent 4 days following me around the country.

The tour finished in Lexington, when John Scalzi introduced me and interrogated me while a rock band played loudly next door: Look, here is me in a Cyberman head backstage with Scalzi. And then it finished properly in Cambridge two days after that. And then it finished later that week at Comic-Con in San Diego.

By the time of Comic-Con I was VERY tired indeed.

Entertainment Weekly took a photo of me there. I looked like this:


I presented Eisners, avoided being snogged by my co-presenter Jonathan Ross (as a follow up to this 2007 moment)(Mr Ross kissed John Barrowman instead), although I made up for it by kissing Chip Kidd instead when he came up to collect Chris Ware's final Eisner Award. I was on a great Sandman panel with Sam Kieth, J. H, Williams III, Dave McKean, Todd Klein and Shelly Bond. I was on  panels about Jack Kirby and Will Eisner, and there was a Spotlight panel, where I was interviewed (and, unsurprisingly, embarrassed) by Jonathan Ross:


I went home. My wife came off tour. I picked her up at the airport with a handmade sign.

We went to the Newport Folk Festival. We painted a mural on an unborn baby's wall.




 We both recovered a bit more.

Yesterday, I started writing again.

Today I flew to Canada for the start of the next leg of the tour. Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver. All sold out, I'm afraid.

Next week I go to the Netherlands and sign in Rotterdam and Utrecht (Details on WHERE'S NEIL), and will be at the Lowlands Festival at 17:30 on Saturday afternoon. Then round two of the UK, and on to the Edinburgh Book Festival. The Edinburgh Book Festival events are sold out...

If you are in the South of England, and free on the evening of the 18th of August, come to Portsmouth and watch me do an EVENING WITH NEIL GAIMAN and a book signing in the Guildhall. That afternoon, there will be a naming ceremony as a small road by the Canoe Lake becomes "The Ocean at the End of the" Lane. It points at the Atlantic Ocean -- or at least at the English Channel...  (Details here.) If you think I'm delighted by this, you'd be right, but a lot of the delight has to do with all of my Portsmouth Relatives Who Have All Moved To Exotic Places Like Harrow coming back for the day to watch me beam delightedly at the lane-naming, and to tell me that my grandparents would have been proud.

Baffled, undoubtedly, but proud nonetheless.




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