Sunday, May 18, 2003

In the City, in the Rain (Again).

In Paris on a wet Sunday afternoon. My editor, Anne Michel, took me out for lunch and then to the Matrix Reloaded, which I thought was mostly terrific. (Also thought it made the first film better: there were a couple of things that had puzzled me when I read the script for the first film that I figured would make sense when I saw the film, and still didn't, that now do.) (Which reminds me -- I should go to the basement and find the original script they sent me, with the cover letter and storyboards, and a copy of GOLIATH, the story I wrote, sign them and give them to the CBLDF to auction.)

Hi, Neil (if this message ever gets to you)... my name is Kristi and I'm a nineteen-year-old fan/fictionalist/clever girl/college dropout (due to lack of funds). My question is... not having a place to go to college next year, and with my main and totally unmarketable selling point being the ability to write, I find myself totally without a place to land. Nebulous thoughts of moving to New York and working in film (which is what I do right now) drift through my head, but I fear I'm about to get stuck in a lifetime of not being able to do what I really want. I love comic books, poetry, intelligent fantasy, theater, and film--- all of which are terrible fields to break into! Any advice you could offer would be so much welcome. Thank you so much.

I can't think of much worse than spending a lifetime doing something that isn't what you want to do.

I don't know that I'm really qualified to give advice. But I wasn't much older than you when I started writing fiction and not selling it to anyone. So I decided to be a journalist, and learn how the world and publishing worked, and meet everyone I wanted to meet, and feed myself and pay my rent, and, pretty quickly, that was what I was doing. Seeing there was a shopping list of other things I wanted to do, when I was done with journalism I carried on writing and am still slowly working my way down the list.

And they may be terribly hard fields to break into (except for poetry, which is easy to break into, and nearly impossible to make enough to buy a meagre dinner once a year with) but they are enormously fun ones, and talent and enthusiasm will take you a very long way. Sometimes the easiest way to do something is to do it.

(Well, that's easy for you to say, says someone cynically reading this, you're Neil Gaiman. As if I didn't start from every bit as nowhere as anyone else does. That's how you start. My philosophy starting out was that you learn how to do it by doing it and making mistakes -- and publishing them -- and carrying on. So far it seems to have worked, as much, perhaps, by accident as design.)

Was just wondering, when someone leaves a comment on your feed in Livejournal, do you get it?

Not as such, no. The Livejournal feed is simply a feed -- it picks up the journal entries from here and distributes them. So if you reply or comment it doesn't come to me, it just sort of sits there, attached to the post for people to read. Having said that, I've been keeping half an eye on the officialgaiman feed for the last few weeks, to make sure that it's still working (because the earlier livejournal versions sporadically didn't) and to make sure that I've remembered to put a title up (as when I forget, I've learned, the posts don't happen) so I've been seeing some of the comments. There's no guarantee I'll see any particular comment on any entry, though, and as I'm learning to trust the posting and getting the hang of remembering titles I'm checking it less and less.


Forgot to mention that Coraline is apparently on the Italian bestseller lists, and is currently nominated for the Mythopoeic Award. There.