Friday, June 23, 2006

A quick shufty

Email just came in from editor Nick Lowe letting me know that the Entertainment Weekly Eternals piece is out today. (And that they took off the Junior from Mr Romita's name.) And Nick asked if I could mention the comic shop locator (1-800-COMIC BOOK) for people wanting to find a copy of Eternals but not sure where to start.

Busy copy-editing the UK and the US editions of FRAGILE THINGS at the same time, trying to make sure they're very similar books... (although the stories that were already published in the UK edition of Smoke and Mirrors won't be reprinted in Fragile Things to avoid too much confusion). Argh. let's do a quick shufty through the mail...

Dear Neil,

Could you explain the link between Alan Moore's pornographic comic book and the site you linked all of your fans to and why it is "traumatising"? I poked around the site you linked, and don't see how a ballet dancer/jazz guitarist/children's charity worker who makes his own costumes is related to Alan Moore's sex book.

Unless of course you were simply poking fun at an innocent bystander, which I guess makes sense, in a high-school bully sort of way.

I did notice some of the people pictured with him in costume, and I've seen people like this at your signings. I don't think it would be beyond imagination for any of these people to be among your fans and supporters.

I was merely wondering what your intentions were in posting this link.

Possibly disappointedly yours,

David McHale

Er. The link is "controversial" takes on Peter Pan.

I think that Lost Girls is uncontroversial and untraumatising, despite whatever tabloid flak comes its way over the next few months (here's the CNN article and I'm sure that The Sun, News of the World etc will be jumping in very soon), and that it's less traumatic than a middle-aged man dressing up as the Disney version of the character Peter Pan, and doing a website that plays you "When you wish upon a star" which is also obviously not a traumatising thing, but that was sort of the point.

The "Peter Pan" website was popular in a "have you seen this?" sort of way about five years ago, and it made me smile to see that it was still up from the Wikipedia Peter Pan article. I figured if it still made me smile, it might make other people smile. Which I assume is its purpose, or one of them -- if you put up a website like that you aren't an "innocent bystander". You're inviting people to link to it and to react to it with amusement or delight or revulsion or to find it charming or whatever. I think it's funny. Your mileage may vary. (Not sure how you got to high-school bullying from there.) But, yes, the connection you missed was Peter Pan.

Hi Neil-

I was curious to see if you had any response to the question about typos in the first issue of The Eternals:

Yup. Those are typos. Nothing compared to some of the ones we got in Sandman or 1602 though. They happen. Luckily, God invented the trade paperback as a way to let us fix these things.

Dear Mr. Gaiman,

I read your advice to the 23 year old writer ('tricia), about how to deal with feeling like a crap writer when you're so young. But what do you do when you're 30? I've written a novel that only my friends want to read (bear in mind, one of those friends is a book editor at a major US paper), but no agent or publisher wants to touch?

What does one do when they can't get a break? I want to write, but no paper will hire me to write. Right now I'm an editor at a website, but I'd barely call it editing. I write screenplays and am working on other prose projects, but I guess what I'm getting at is, should there be a point when one must say "enough is enough. This isn't going anywhere. It's time to stop before this starts to hurt more than I can bear"?

I bear responsibility for my actions as a writer, I know, and I've squandered many chances. I am at a low point, and I'm not sure that words of encouragement will mean anything to me at this point. They don't sound sincere. Overnight success takes years to happen, and I haven't been able to get that groundwork done. Is it worth my time to continue this fool's mission?



You can give up if you like. It's okay. The world won't end. I'm not really sure what being 30 has to do with it, though. Some of my favourite writers barely started being published until they were in their forties.

Sometimes it's a good thing that no-one wants to publish your first novel. I'm really glad nobody wanted to publish mine. There are an awful lot of publishers and agents out there, and I suspect if I'd sent my first novel to more than two publishers someone eventually would have published it. (This would not have been a good thing, but persistence would probably have paid off.)

Writing short stories is often a very good way to learn. And the thrill of seeing a short story in print can keep you going for a while -- and there are certainly paying short story markets out there.

But you can give up, too, if it makes you feel better.

The lady on the plane next to me yesterday explained, when I told her I was a writer, that as a former English Major she had had dreams of being a major novelist, but she was making a living instead, and she hoped to one day have enough free time to write.

And I remembered Gene Wolfe getting up at 5.00 am every day and writing two pages before going in to work, and I told her that if she wanted to be a writer she ought to write. ("It's like most jobs," I told. "It's amazing how much of it just consists of showing up." But she didn't believe me.)

Only just saw that Coraline is being shown in Cork for a very very
limited run - One show was
on today at 1600 (too late now) and there'll be two shows tomorrow.
Anyone in Cork should try and get to see this and drag all their
sticky nieces and nephews along too.


Bugger. I'd meant to put something about that up last week. Yes. (Also I really want to see it.) If anyone goes and is reading this, let me know how it is.
It'll be playing at the Donegal festival in July.

Hi Neil,

I'm a frequent reader of your journal and often think about asking a question but can never think of anything that you probably haven't been asked umpteen times before. Then I see your a Boosh fan and finally I have what I hope is an original question (and admittedly a rather irrelevant one).
Who is your favourite Boosh villain? Of course we all love the Hitcher but I feel the Spirit of Jazz and Evil Tree are often overlooked because of this.
Love your work and am looking forward to all the new things you have in the pipeline for us.
I'll stop wasting your time now. :)

Either Old Gregg (I mean, he's a cross-dressing sea-monster) or Mr Susan, ruler of the Mirrorworld, with his 17 mirrors.