Sunday, September 28, 2003

Warming up slowly

Yesterday was a signing in a book shop, for about 400 people. Things got a bit tense when I learned that the shop was going to have to throw everyone out when they closed at 6.00pm, and I sped everything up, and made it with a couple of minutes to spare. A bit fell off my Lamy fountain pen, rendering it sort of useless, and I asked the bookshop if I could buy another fountain pen. Instead they brought over three Shaeffers and told me to take my pick, as a gift. I took a nice black one with a good sort of heft to it, and was happy.

Today I used it a lot -- the space at the Helsinki comic convention was too small to contain the people who wanted me to sign things, so after doing a Q & A inside for everyone who could get in, I signed outside, in a sort of open tent in the road, for a long line of people stretched down the edge of the pavement.

I slowly got colder and colder (and have not yet totally warmed up), which is an occupational hazard to signing books and comics I'd not hitherto encountered. Hoping that the rest of the signings of the tour will be inside. Intellectually I know that I'm not going to catch a cold from just being out in the cold or the rain. On the other hand, I think that the last time I typed something like that here it was in Paris in January, and was immediately followed by flu.

When I went on the road with Tori to Chicago last year, I got to meet Kitty, who was cooking for the whole of Tori's crew. Kitty is a mother-goddess, worshipped and adored by Tori and the crew. She immediately adopted Maddy and taught her how to play with her food (it was food they couldn't take to Canada with them, and, having been opened, couldn't be donated with the rest to Chicago Food pantries: I saw Kitty teaching Maddy how to frisbee tacos, catapult sugar cubes, and bowl with lemons). Kitty's also an artist -- she showed me some lush photographs, drenched in colour, which she encases in glass and frames with copper, so I thought I'd repost the details of an upcoming show she's doing from her e-mail.

it is a group show, this time around.
when: oct 5-26, 2003 (coinciding w/ the maryland microcinefest film fest)
where: G-spot gallery 2980 falls road baltimore, md 21211
show: "get your grille on" (the indian summer BBQ show)
what: i am showing my "glass candy bars"
color-saturated cross-processed photographs--encased in hand-cut recycled glass, framed in copper.

If you're in the area, go and check them out.

So what is the etiquette (I'll be amazed if that wasn't spelled horribly wrong) for tipping servers/waiters in Finnland? Because if I or someone at my table were served food that might kill us, I would probably tip considerably less. (this sounds silly, now that I've typed it...)
on a lighter note, I just finished Stardust whilst eating sushi. it was truly a perfect moment. hope your trip is going well.

~silly american girl

I don't think the Finns are really into tipping. (I was told "We don't tip. We pay our waitresses instead.")

It was great to meet you at the signing at the Equitable Center last week during New York is Book Country. I'd like to ask my favorite interview question, which is: If you could give your younger self -- the one just starting out in the business -- any advice, what would you tell him?


I think I'd probably just suggest to myself that I try to enjoy the journey more, because it's going to be interesting.

A fellow named Davey suggested I pass along a post I put on the message board to this FAQ box. It is regarding The Wolves in the Walls. Having just finished Coraline, I bought the new book as soon as I found it. I teach kindergarten in a fairly poor area of Toronto. The children haven't been exposed to a lot of literature so I was interested in how they would react to a book with no cutesy illustrations. Experience has taught me that when I read a good book to children, they listen. They don't become distracted or chat among themselves. As I read the book, there was silence in the room. They were totally involved in the story line and how it played out through the illustrations. They empathized with Lucy's attachment to her pig puppet and one little girl started bringing her favourite doll to school so she wouldn't be separated from it. At the sight of the elephant's footprint on the last page one boy commented "Oh, here we go again". I'll read it again to them closer to Hallowe'en and ask them to draw their favourite part. Writing creative stories is a regular part of their weekly routine and I plan on also asking them to continue the story from where the elephants move in. It is a great book. I hope your daughters will inspire some more. Siobhan Duart

I'm pleased. When I finished writing it I went and read it to Maddy's kindergarten (or possibly first grade -- same teachers and children) class, and they liked it, which meant I was suprised by several of the reviews which claim it's not really for small kids, being too scary, or too wordy. Kids seem to like the words, and it's very hard to be afraid of the wolves for very long.

CRAZY HAIR is the next children's picture book, probably in 2005. (Although the HarperChildrens new edition of THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH will happen in late 2004.)

And that fellow named Davey is actually a lady...


I was reading the following summary of entertainment news:
And wanted to ask your opinion of two of the items. The first is the mention that Fox is being sued for "ripping off" LXG (I can't bring myself to call it the same name as the Alan Moore comics ;-) from some unmake script in the early 90s, and they are also claiming that Fox paid the esteemed Mr Moore to write the comics as a way to cover up the original story source. I"m assuming that you, knowing Alan Moore, will disagree with this rather silly assertion.

Second, and not nearly as important, but still interesting, is the blurb that Madonna is refusing to pose for pictures on her current book signing tour prompting her new kids book. As I've seen you happily (if wearily) pose for countless shots with your fans at signing, I was wondering what you thought of this.


Disagree? Sure, it's silly. It didn't happen like that. I do love the idea of putting Alan on the witness stand, though, looming and huge like a yeti in a suit, to explain his creative processes. It's true that they started working on the film before The League was finished, but that was because Don Murphy snapped up League, based on (if I remember correctly) the first issue and the outline for the rest.

As for Madonna... on the one hand I think she's giving author signings a bad name (she will "hand presigned books to children, but will not personalise them"? Honestly!) On the other hand, I do understand that she really doesn't want any bad or unflattering photographs out there. It doesn't matter to me if people take red-eyed photos of me at a signing looking like a stunned demonic lemur with a bad hair day. But it probably matters a lot to her (additionally, the phrase "an' you 'ave ter understand, Neil, that wivart any make-up on, that woman looks like an 'andbag," reverberates in the back of my head, but will not be further explained).

Hi Neil,

Received my tickets from Foyles today and are most excited to be seeing you, Dave McKean and apparently Jonathan Ross in the flesh which is a most welcome surprise (no i just have to convince someone to go with me). I know this question is asked over and over again but how many things will you be signing because I will have the first 4 issuses of 1602 that all require signatures for my retirement fund and of course Wolves in the Walls.

hoping Christmas is coming early,


I'm pretty sure I'll be signing more than just Wolves in the Walls and Coraline at the signing... but how much more, I'm not sure (probably one or two items-from-home or whatever else Foyles is selling (Endless Nights? Cages? American Gods?), plus Wolves and Coraline if you have them). I think it's very probable that you won't get all four 1602s signed, though, given the probable numbers that night. Your best bet, if you have extra stuff you want scrawled on, is to get to one of the UK lunchtime bookshop signings if you can, as well -- they tend to be smaller than the evening ones, and will definitely be much smaller than the Foyles event (although they won't have the reading, the Jonathan Ross live interview, or Dave McKean).