Friday, March 05, 2004

Snow falling off cedars

It snowed last night.

That's one of what a friend of mine used to call "those British understatey things you do, isn't it?"

Between midnight and morning about a foot of snow fell, covering the world. Roads are closed. School is cancelled. Everything is very quiet, except for the occasional floomfing sound of snow falling off pine trees and cedars. And the occasional crack and crunch of a snow-covered branch falling off a pine tree, and the muffled ow from whatever was underneath. A foot of snow...


This just came in from Claudia Gonson, of the Magnetic Fields:

Dear Friends and family, who either live in Boston or who have access to
nifty websites who can post this information for me:

Please post and forward the following Magnetic Fields show information.
Musictoday, the ticket service, is only allowed to sell tickets for us for 2 weeks
at a discount. So we would like to really let as many people know as possible
about the Boston show before Ticketron get their greedy hands on the show
(after March 19), and double the prices.

So please forward or post the following to every one or place you can think
of, and big thanks!

The Magnetic Fields will be touring in April and May, 2004. There are tickets
currently available for their Boston show, at the Berklee Performance Center
on May 22. You can receive discounted prices for this show by ordering now
through the URL is

After March 19, these discounted tickets will no longer be available. Tickets
after that date will be available through Ticketron and at the Berklee box
office. For general info on The Magnetic Fields, go to


There. Every time the wind blows the world outside the window goes white.

Neil, why don't you list the audio play version of Snow, Glass, Apples on your website? I performed the part of Prince Charming with Bebe Neuwirth, and think the whole cast did a fantastic job. I'm not sure how many of your fans even know that this is out there.

That must be Mark Evans (hi Mark). It really is listed on the website, but mostly as part of Two Plays For Voices --

But seeing you asked....

Anyone can listen to Snow Glass Apples (and Murder Mysteries) for free over at -- it's up at

You can download it from or through Itunes. And you can buy it on CD or cassette (as Two Plays For Voices).

Short of having the actors come around to your house and perform it, that's pretty much a full set of options.



Have you ever considered self-publishing? Now that you are well established, I would imagine you can move quite a bit of product from your web site and can keep more of the dollars (or pounds sterling) for yourself.

Just curious as to why more successful authors don't self-publish.



I have so much less time to write than I would like; in a world in which I also had to run a small publishing company is one in which I suspect I'd have no time to write at all. Also, I have no desire to run a small publishing company, or a toy company, or any of those things. I like writing. There are people who like publishing what I write, and who are very happy to pay me for the right to publish my work. They have a promotional department, editorial, designers. They have sales reps. They have deep pockets.

A friend of mine runs a small publishing company. They've had a recent success with a thick book that has, in a quiet way, gone on to mild bestseller status. Now, every time they go back to press on it -- as they have to, and want to -- they also have no cashflow, and have to hold their breath, and juggle projects and so on, to make everything work. It's a success that could, if not handled properly, cripple the publisher.

Watching Pete and Pete at HillHouse Press publishing their limited edition of American Gods has been an education for me -- again, it was more successful than they expected, which has brought with it a load of additional problems for them. (Expect an announcement from them within the week on when the books are going out, and the incredibly cool bonus thing that people will be getting, which has been responsible for the recent delay.)

I'm happy to support small presses. I like not being a publisher. I suppose I could take a larger slice of the pie if I was publishing myself, but I'd also write a lot less, unless I was delegating everything, employing people, all that... at which point, why not get an existing publisher to publish me?


what month was the sandman launched in 1989

Sandman #1 came out in November-Decmber of 1988, with a January 1989 cover date.


A few days ago I asked Kristin if she'd fill in more details than the press gave on the Harvard Square protest, and she was very happy to:

What was the point of the PETA protest in Harvard Square? Well, for PETA, it was to get publicity -- one way or another, good or bad -- for their worthy cause. If any of their (occasionally questionable) antics cause one more person to take responsibility for their relations with the animal kingdom, those nutty vegans call the day and the demonstration a success.

For me, the point was to explore some of the issues of public nudity. F'rinstance, why is it that the women were charged with indecent exposure (which, following a conviction, would require us to register as sex offenders) for showing our breasts, with the nipples covered by flesh-colored pasties? Dan Mathews, our tall, blonde cohort in the Spongebob boxers, was jailed for "only" blocking traffic and disturbing the peace. My liberal (quasi-nudist) heart bleeds for the double standard!

Dan Mathews was asked by Professor Palmer to appear in front of the class because of his visible, storied lifestyle -- and what happened in his life to make him chose that lifestyle. Professor Palmer, actually, suggested that he stage some sort of event to give the students a taste of what he does.

Anywho, I hope that serves to clarify the madcap antics a little bit. Thank you so much for your kindness and understanding, Unca Neil. I can think of no one else I'd rather have chastise me for taking off my blouse in public :)

Niece Kristin

Thanks, Kristin. Yes, it's a double-standard, and a very odd one.

There's a Chicago Tribune article on the McFarlane case, which is fairly good (there's a bit of confusion in there between an "idea" and a "script", added in by a commenting law professor who doesn't seem very clear on what it is a writer actually does in comics).