Sunday, January 16, 2005

Zoinks! Jinkies! Jeepers!

You know, all those years I spent as a kid watching Scooby Doo, I never once thought "This is probably how adults really behave". I was, of course, wrong. This CNN story about the haunting of a castle estate in Austria...

tells us that

The 42-year-old woman, whose name was not released, was convicted on nuisance charges after she allegedly spent weeks masquerading as a ghost and making mysterious noises, Austrian television reported.

Police captured the woman on videotape after the jittery owner, who employed the suspect's husband, begged authorities in the alpine province of South Tyrol to solve the mystery.

Traditionally, of course, the authorities are meant simply to laugh at the castle's owner, who is then supposed to offer the job to a gang of pesky kids.

(Thanks to all of you who sent me the link.)


Dear Neil,I told my husband that a deer crashed into the side of your Mini, but the car was not damaged at all. He was quite astonished that this was possible. I have wanted a Mini for some time and consider this story as yet another block of evidence that Minis are as safe as I believe. My husband however is still skeptical and wants to know if the deer died. I'm sorry if this question is in bad taste, but he really wants to know. Valery

I don't know what happened to the deer. It was night in the dark woods out by my writing cabin, and I looked around, but it had gone, leaving only the wing-mirror twisted up, and, oddly, what can only be described as a "deer print" on the side of the car, to tell me I'd not imagined it. It wasn't until I inspected it the following day, that I realised that it hadn't done any other damage (and the wing mirror simply twisted back into position.)

And this was the message after yours, Valerie. You may want to show it to your husband:

On the durability of Mini Coopers. I'm a volunteer fire-fighter in the Santa Cruz, CA, area. We had a mini drive off the two-lane highway and hit a telephone pole head on. It went through the pole, and into a 3-4' dia redwood tree. The tree stopped the car for good.The car was totalled, but no glass was broken, and the driver had a bruise on his arm. Very impressive for a 45mph or so impact. The car's front end was demolished, but otherwise was intact. The pole's bottom tore out the underside of the fuel tank, which caused a fire, but I forgive a car that. It's rare to go through something like a telephone pole in the first place. They tend to do pretty nasty things to cars... Enjoy the Mini, drive safely, and hope it serves you well,


Those of you who were at Fiddler's Green may remember hearing me read a short story called SUNBIRD, which I wrote to be my daughter Holly's 18th birthday present and finished when she was 19 and a half (on my May 2003 European Tour I remember hearing the proverb "The knifemaker's children eat with wooden forks" but I no longer remember which country I was in when I heard it).

I've given it to McSweeneys, for an anthology of children's fiction they will be putting out to raise money for which should be published in the autumn of 2005.

I was just sent this news item from Newsday, that says that "... Cynthia Nixon, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Rockwell, Justin Theroux, Kristen Johnston, Bob Balaban, Martha Plimpton, Parker Posey - shake well and mix for an evening called "How I Learned to Read." Add a dash of host Eric Bogosian. These worthies will deal with some never-before-heard stories for children from contemporary authors including Jonathan Safran Foer, Nick Hornby, Neil Gaiman, and George Saunders, with one or two classics from Mark Twain, Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl. It happens Jan. 24 at Tonic, 107 Norfolk St., with sensibly priced tickets. A nonprofit tutoring center called 826NYC will benefit. The group helps students from ages 6-18 develop writing skills and use English as a second language. Call 212-477-8150.

..which sounds extremely cool. If anyone goes, let me know how it went and what they read.

...,3605,1389496,00.html is an article by Jon Ronson about Day-glo, which I found fascinating. I suspect G. K. Chesterton would have enjoyed the paradox at the heart of the article. (Did I mention how much I enjoyed The Men Who Stare at Goats, Ronson's latest book? No?)


Neil: Just found out that you can purchase tickets for the Mirrormask screening at the Sarasota Film Festival (assuming I'm reading the webpage correctly) You can buy them online at:
Mirrormask and a break from the horrible cold; sounds good to me! Sax in Ohio


Dear Neil,January's "Empire" film magazine says that you and Dave McKean are doing the film of "Signal to Noise". Is it going ahead then? All I can find under "Search" is an old entry suggesting Dave was hoping to do it in 2003.I'd have expected to hear it mentioned at first, but then again "Empire" obviously take an interest in you as they've had several items on MirrorMask.Anyway, if it's happening I'm sure you'll tell us all about it in good time. Hope the current endeavours are going well,Kirsten

Dave certainly wants it to be his next film, and there are several entities who would like to finance it, but we've not yet even written the script. Not sure why Empire would be announcing it. (Dave did a screen test, a couple of years ago, under the auspices of the British Film Council, to see whether some of his odder ideas, like filming with multiple cameras, would work, and I think he was overall, happy with the effects.)

Neil, Over a year ago I remember you mentioning on your blog that DC/Vertigo was working on a Death trade collecting both mini-series. I'm wondering whatever happened to that? Will it ever see the light of day (perhaps it's being held off until the movie is released?), or has Vertigo let it slip into that dreaded area known as "forgotten projects"? Thanks, Greg

They decided not to do it for now -- I think mostly because they worried it would cut into sales of the Death: The High Cost of Living and The Time of Your Life paperbacks.

my best friend is betting me twenty bucks you won't post this

She's right. I won't.

Dear mr. Gaiman, I know you probably won't reply to this, but I have to ask anyways (the inner comic book geek in me says "why not?")That project you're now working on for Marvel, is it IN continuity? As in, will it be set in the current time frame of the Marvel Universe or will it be an out of continuity thing (ex. 1602) and can you give ANY hints on the artist or characters you'll be dealing with?Like I said, I had to ask. thanks a lot, flick

It'll be in continuity and present day, yes. Beyond that, you'll have to wait until it's announced, I'm afraid.

I got a question for you, how do you become friends with what you've written? Perfectionism is hard to overcome, well for me anyway, and I always see the flaws, the clumsyness and that sort of thing. Even when people who I trust in having an as objective opinion as possible say that they like it I don't trust them. Not because I lack self-confidence, there are things I've written that I genuinly love, it's just...When you see the flaws in something it's hard to love it, if it's your own work. I'm fine with it in other peoples work. So, am I making sense? Do you have this problem? And is there anything I can do to make it go away?

Well, it's hard to be a fan of your own work (I'm not a fan of my writing). You'll always see how far it was from what you had in mind when you sat down to write. (The only thing that seems to fix that is time. But time still won't make you a fan of what you've written, and when it does -- when you find yourself laughing at a joke you've forgotten that you wrote a long time ago -- it normally just makes you worry that you used to have it but you probably don't any more.)

If people you trust say they like it, they probably like it, but that doesn't make you respect them any the more or like the story. (It's one reason that editors buying stories is so important for beginning writers. Anyone can say they like it, but sending a cheque and then printing the story -- that's love.)

Also, once it's written, the writer is just one more person with an opinion about the work. It's certainly an informed opinion, but that doesn't make your opinion more right than anyone else's, I'm afraid, whether they like it or they don't.

It's best make art and not to worry. I'll take the satisfaction of having built something that did what I hoped it would do over being in love with my own voice any day. It's safer. Make good art that says sort of what you set out to say and then, when it's good enough for jazz, go on to the next thing.

Hi. I came upon a book called Adventures in the Dream Trade in an online auction here in the Philippines. The book (#689) went for Php8000 ($143)and was bought by another user quickly, before I even got to think about where to get the money. Sob. I understand that there were only 2000 copies printed but I still have to ask this question. Are there any plans for a mass market edition of the book? I mean, I'd still go out of my way to find ANOTHER copy (if I stumble upon one, that is), but it'd be nice to see it on a bookstore shelf beside your other books.Jeeu Christopher GonzalesQuezon City, Philippines

Adventures in the Dream Trade has been out in paperback for a while. You can get it from Amazon or from DreamHaven Books' site (I just checked their Just-In site and learned many things, including what the Olson Books "Neil Gaiman" book cover looks like -- it's a sweet photo of me in about 1993, which compares amusingly with the exhausted me of a year ago on the cover of Joe McCabe's lovely book of interviews) and probably from other places as well.

Actually, the paperback edition is rather better than the hardback, from an authorial point of view -- it had an excellent copy-editing going over by Davey and Chip. Which reminds me:

Hello. I have a question about the Fiddler's Green convention. I was unable to attend after paying for my membership and was told that I would be receiving the souvenir booklet via mail, however, I've yet to receive said booklet and none of my emails to the Fiddler's Green website seem to be answered. Is there any way you could help in this quasi-crisis? Adam

I've been assured that the Fiddler's Green people are getting out the souvenir books as soon as they can (most of them got back from the con to find Life waiting for them, and are still trying to catch up). Anyway, I've relayed your concerns.

I think you'll be extremely happy with the Book when it arrives -- it's quite an amazing piece of work.


And, finally, a word from our ten-year-old sponsor:

Hello everyone, it is your friendly neighborhood Maddy speaking. I'd just like to say a few words. My dad is a weirdo peirdo shmeirdo, My dad is a weirdo peirdo SPLAT! Thank you very much... now you can carry on with your day. P.S. Remember Dad is a weirdo, but Maddy is the best! P.P.S. La la la, sing with me!! Hmm hmm hmm, hum with me!! Dum de dum, dum de dum with me!! P.P.P.S. Thank you very much and now back to that one weird guy.

Memo to self: suggest to Maddy that she get her own blog. (Maddy also titled today's post.)