Friday, May 07, 2004

regaining my marbles

The good news: I got a great haircut at Hair Police, then stopped in at DreamHaven, scribbled on stuff people had ordered from DreamHaven's site, and picked up a remarkably beautiful Nebula Award for Coraline. The Nebulas are lucite blocks with Nebulas in them, often made of copper filings, and other things, often appropriate to the book in question. Coraline's Nebula seems to have marbles in there, which made me really, really happy.

The bad news: traffic and interminable roadworks were bad enough that by the time I got home, I only had enough time to get about 800 words written on the novel. I may write a bit more in bed tonight though, if only because I want to meet the Bird Lady, in her cave. I've been waiting a very long time to write her. I wrote Lion today though. Lion was cool. I didn't expect Lion to be cool.

I think I'm now about half-way through the zeroth draft of Anansi Boys, so tomorrow morning I'm going to read the Story So Far over the phone to my editor at Morrow. Which is really weird (although she doesn't seem to mind) but I'm not going to inflict my handwriting on anyone, and I'm not quite ready to go to the keyboard on it yet. I'll report back.

Greg Ketter at Dreamhaven, who brought me back my Nebula, was sighing over the problems they have, as a small bookstore, getting the spoken word CDs I've done for them distributed and into the hands of customers (that's the double CD WARNING:CONTAINS LANGUAGE and the single one TELLING TALES). It's difficult for DreamHaven to get them into record shops and the book chains. I suggested that we try and get the CDs up and available, track by track, on services like iTunes and, and went to the website to show Greg Ketter American Gods and Coraline, to demonstrate how it works, only to discover that they've once more mysteriously vanished. Two Plays for Voices is still up on iTunes, though.

Let's see -- Time Magazine profiles Stephin Merritt and "i" at

Bounce, the new Sondheim, arrived on CD in the mail today, and I'm playing it right now. I don't dislike it, not even a little bit, which is a relief. I was worried I'd react to it as I did to Passion (which I disliked enormously on Broadway and then, just in case it was the production or the direction or something, I went to the London first night of, and heartily loathed. I just wanted to give everyone on the stage A Good Talking To, or possibly just gently push Fosca off a cliff at midnight somewhere early in act one) although I've not yet played it enough to have a favourite track or anything like that. Bounce reminds me oddly of Gypsy, and I do know Sondheim only wrote the lyrics of Gypsy. But it also sounds like it's somehow missing a song or two...

(Yes, I know there are people who like Passion. My wife is one of them. I'm perfectly happy being one of the people who Do Not Get Passion.)

I squirted the plum trees with Bee-Scent, fairly early this morning, on the basis that over the last couple of years we've had plenty of plum blossom, and practically no plums. It's a bee-pheremone that's meant to increase plum-production by 90%. I'll report back on whether or not it worked.

Okay, I've heard you're into (collecting) pens, and that sometimes folks send you website info they think you might be interested in. Well, a coworker clued me in to a site today, and I thought you might find the Anubis pen of interest.

The Anubis pen at It's lovely. I bought one at the World Horror Convention in Chicago, a couple of years ago, and gave it to Gene Wolfe, who started writing a horror novel set in ancient Egypt. Obviously these are very powerful pens.

I love the look of their chocolate hearts...

And I don't laugh out loud very often at things I read on the web. I laughed at this, though, Saddam's interrogation logs...

Dear Mr. Gaiman/Neil/man whose work I love reading

So being a self confessed theatre geek, when I saw that the new Magnetic Fields album is called "i" I was greatly amused. This may more sense if I tell you that I recently finished a run of "Proof" by David Auburn, and the show happens to include an imaginary number joke about a song called "i". The show strikes me as something you might enjoy, considering the numerous references I've seen to theatre in your blog and considering how well written it is. This of course brought me to my next thought, which is really more of a question. Do you have a favorite play or show, and if so, what is it? I apologize if this has already been asked, and if it hasn't, then it has now. Thanks muchly, and I'm glad your new novel is starting to take shape, I'm looking forward to it!


The best thing I've ever seen in the theatre was Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the National Theatre's tiny Cottesloe Theatre, in the summer of 1993, with Adrian Lester as Anthony, Alun Armstrong as Sweeney, Julia McKenzie as Mrs Lovett.

A Midsummer Night's Dream
is probably my favourite play that I've seen. It makes me happy. My favourite play that I've never actually seen performed is probably Farquar's The Beaux' Stratagem.

Favourite "did I really just see that?" piece of perfectly funny live theatre would be the National Theatre of Brent's epic Complete Guide to Sex, in around 1984, with Patrick Barlow as impresario Desmond Olivier Dingle and Jim Broadbent as Wallace playing, well, everyone. Although Wallace had to play all the girls.


Nearly forgot: if you're in the Minneapolis area in August, Scott McCloud is reprising his amazing comics theory and practice workshop seminar. If you want to make comics (or if you already make comics and want to do better comics), you should seriously think about doing Scott's seminar.

You can sign up for the course at and read about what the course consists of at Scott is a national treasure, he doesn't teach the course often. Personally, I'm hoping that enough people sign up that they make Scott do an extra week, as they did in 2002.

Scott also promises that I will really really like Flight Comics, and I believe him. I just need the time to browse, and prove it to myself...