Friday, May 16, 2003

That is night-gab. How can he starch a tepid mouse?

Let's see... if you're in North Carolina and want to come and see me talk in October I'm speaking at (link courtesy of the Dreaming). It does look like the tickets are going fast, so if you want to see me or John Grisham or Joyce Carol Oates or any of the other authors who will be speaking (but not the Lovely Bones lady as her tickets have already sold out) you should probably try and get tickets now.

Do you ever get tired of FAQ submissions that start off, "This isn't really an FAQ, but..."? Well, this isn't really an FAQ, but a hamburger. Okay it's not a hamburger, either. It's a follow-up/explanation of the superhero link you had in your journal a week or so ago:
I thought you'd find it interesting given how much ideas and stories intrigue you. ("Writers are liars.")


I think I'm mildly surprised that anyone believed it. I mean, I really liked it as a story, and was very happy to post it, but I didn't believe it, mostly because it was set in the Pantiles of Tubridge Wells. A superhero in Tunbridge Wells (or "Royal Tunbridge Wells" as Miss Spink and Miss Forcible insist on saying) would die of boredom before the Kryptonite or the supercriminals ever got to him. A superhero in London, sure. Manchester or Birmingham or Glasgow, probably. Brighton, possibly. Tunbridge Wells, never.

It's nice to have an explanation posted, but the mystery was better. Mysteries always are.

Hello! I'm an American, but I'll be in Goettingen, Germany for the summer. I was wondering if you had any tour/travel plans involving Germany, especially in August. I looked on the "Where's Neil" page, but couldn't find anything, and have no clue where to look on the Web in general. Also, with all this talk about translations, I was curious as to whether you spoke any language aside from English, whether fluently or not.


If I survive the current tour, I'll be doing a Norway/Sweden/Finland/Germany signing tour for Coraline at the beginning of October 2003.

Once, long ago, I spoke French. Still understand it enough mostly not to need interview questions translated, but it's never used and gets rusty. I can read German, and still retain a smattering of Latin and less than a smattering of classical Greek. If dropped in France or Germany for a while I suspect that my schoolboy language skills would return.

dearest neil,
my name is erin abbamondi, and i am a nice painter/writer/musician chick from south jersey.
i am writing you in regards to a project i have been assigned by my english teacher.
you see, i have been out of school for about a month and a half due to a liver infection and mono,
and seeing as the semester is coming to a close very soon
and this is my senior year of highschool,
i dont have the time needed to make up all of the work for each class.

she made a deal with me,
and told me she had a project she had wanted to test on my AP english class, but didnt think we'd take well to it.
she decided to assign it to me,
and the work i did for the project would be my second semester grade.

this is the project -

pick an author and read a minimum of five works by him/her.
research their life and construct a biography of yr own as background information to lead up to the heart of the assignment.

choose another author, compatible to the one above in some respects, and write a letter [ as the first author ] to the second author.

she said these were the makings of a partner project, and that she would have one student research just one another, and the other research another - each reading 5 works by their authors to get a grasp on their writing style.

since i'm working solo, she says i dont have to write back and forth between the two as was intended, but i could if i wanted extra credit.

i chose you as the author, because i've been reading you since i could read, courteousy of an uncle who read and showed me sandmans since i began to read myself.

i think that i'm also interested in the extra credit portion of the assignment,
and that's where my question lies [ and i apologize for the length/confusion of my ramblings.! ] -

if you could correspond with any author,
who would it be? why, also, if you'd like to tell.

if yr interested, i could send you the finished project at the close of the semester.

thanks so much for yr time and yr words.

quite sincerely,
erin of shmerin berry.

Let's see. My favourite living author to correspond with in the real world is probably Gene Wolfe, because he sends the best letters, and has the most perceptive points of view, or Jonathan Carroll, because he has amazing handwriting and sends cool postcards from Jonathan Carroll world, and occasionally sends me magical e-mails.

If we can count dead authors, I'd quite like to correspond with John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester -- the impromptu verse and occasional wine stains would make it interesting, to say the least. Or don marquis -- or better still, archy, don marquis's wonderful creation. (You should find and read the archy and mehitabel books.) archy was a writer, after all. I could correspond with archy forever...


Yesterday was a delight, although by this point on the tour I'm getting pretty tired: I saw Bologna, which is one of the world's cool places, and I was interviewed and then spoke to students and others in the university, in a building that combined both old and new, and then did a signing, and then a dinner with local writers and academics. The language thing is getting frustrating: languages I have failed to speak on this tour so far are Dutch, Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish, Polish, Danish and Italian. I wish I understood spoken Italian -- I can often pick the sense out of something written, as it's only a hop and a jump from Latin. But the language simply flows around me like a mellifluous river. (Whereas Polish and Portuguese I would, especially when tired, start hearing as English, in "Mayor Snorkum will lap a pie chain" fashion.) Today I talk to students in the Library Bourse, and then on to Torino.