Monday, November 24, 2003

No, I'm not going to explain Old English Flavour Spangles here. You're on your own.


Am writing a novel, so you will neither get the story of What Happened When The Aga Went Out, or the excitement of sorting out the International Callback Number system.

The iPod podsleevz arrived. They've now added a warning to the website (probably following complaints from people who bought them) pointing out that an iPod with a Podsleev on will not actually fit into an iPod dock (which was, after all, most of the reason why I got it). However, the iPod in the sleev seemed to fit perfectly happily into an iMotion speakers dock, and to work okay in there, and to charge. And yes, you can work the buttons through the material. I'll report back after I've played with it for longer. In the meantime, if you ask me, the world is still waiting for the perfect 3G iPod cover.

Right. back to the novel.

Not that the novel has yet made it off the ground. Right now it's taxiing madly backwards and forwards across the airfield, with ground staff comically throwing themselves out of its way as it hurtles dangerously toward fences and buildings. But I have faith in it. They laughed at Orville and Wilbur Wright, after all. They laughed Edison. They laughed at Laurel and Hardy. They laughed at Old English Flavour Spangles ("The old English," she laughed, her sharp teeth glinting in the moonlight, "they taste nothing like this! Nothing!")

Neil, I could use your advice on something. My girlfriend is currently studying at a university in Russia. She has to present a book by an American author to her class. This summer, while she was in the US, I gave her some of your books, hoping she would spread the word about you back in Russia. Well, I suggested using one of your books for her project, but now I am unsure of whether you would pass for an American author. Born in England, American wife, no US citizenship, carry a green card, lived and written in the US for over ten years. You say you consider yourself English and probably always will. How would you feel about one of your books being presented as a work by an American author? Your opinion may help to convince my girlfriend's teacher. Or, should she present something by Jonathan Carroll, or Stephen King (my other suggestions)? Thanks for the help and all of the great stories.

Phil in Bangor

Well, it's her call.

If she wants me to be an American author she should simply state, with calm and a quiet authority, that, while born in the UK, Neil Gaiman has lived and worked in America for over a decade and must obviously now be regarded as an American author. And then present the book to the class; and if anyone complains that I'm not actually American due to my knowing what Old English Flavour Spangles were, she should Give Them a Serious Look.

Or, alternatively, she could pick Jonathan Carroll, and simply state, with quiet authority and calm, that despite being a resident of Vienna for well over twenty years, Jonathan Carroll must obviously be regarded as an American Author; and if anyone complains...

Hi, Neil! I'm very happy to hear that you're working on your new book. Much as I would miss your silly posts from crazy places, the promise of a new novel from you is much more exciting.

I'm writing to tell you that you were recently the star of a poetry recitation evening at Carleton University here in Ottawa. I memorized "Nicholas Was" (along with a section of Paradise Lost, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture) and delivered them to a packed house. The goal of the evening was to raise money via sponsorship for PEN (poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists), which is of course a wonderful organization that works to defend freedom of speech, to free writers imprisoned for their politics, to promote literacy and education, and so on. Their site is at . In any case, the promise that I would memorize and recite "a Neil Gaiman short story" won me ninety dollars worth of sponsorship. The fact that I didn't mention how short the story was is, I think, forgivable. ;)

In all, the recitation evening raised over six hundred dollars for PEN and included a selection from Beowulf, The Miller's Tale, Ginsberg's "Sunflower Sutra," "The Journey of the Magi," and many other fun recitations. Mine was a great success and won me one of the prizes - a beautiful book put out in the seventies called "The Great Canadian Comics."

I just thought you'd like to know that your work is doing good things behind your back. And I wanted to thank you for (albeit unwittingly) supporting our fundraiser. Good luck with the new book!

Megan Graham
Ottawa, Ontario

Congratulations. And well done.


And there's a slightly expanded version of the LEGENDS II interview with me and Tad Williams at