Monday, January 29, 2007

What authors don't do, and other digressions

Jonathan Carroll just sent me a link to these haunting little photographic studies of age and time: and I stared at them and thought, I should pass this one on.

Do authors, if ever, read their own work for pleasure? Especially you, Mister Neil Gaiman.

I'm sure some of them do, just as some singers probably like listening to their own albums for pleasure and some filmmakers leave their films on. For the rest of us, by the time you've finished making something like that, you probably don't want to read it/hear it/watch it again.

I was once stuck in a house where there was (literally) nothing to read but a battered and elderly paperback of American Gods, and rather than have a bath with nothing to read, I picked it up, opened it to the Cairo scene and had a long bath reading my own book, and found it not as mortifying an experience as I thought I would. But given that that's the only time that's happened in almost a quarter century as a writer, I think it's a no. (I don't listen to my audio books for pleasure, either.)

Just to let you know, there is an English version of the Apple Mac adverts with the Mitchell and Webb guys from Radio 4 and Peepshow, have a look at - now will you get a Mac? all the best for the new year, pete

But I've got a Mac, honest. I've got a couple of them. And I got all my family Macbooks. I'm just not interested in using one as my main travelling and working computer until they weigh a lot less.

Hiya, Neil:I thought you and your readers would find this amusing, if not downright fantastic. In Vegas, on October 5-7, there will be the first ever International Alchemy Conference: According to the site, it will be the largest gathering of alchemists in 500 Years. Made me think a bit of the Cereal Convention in The Doll's House, though this will, presumably, be a bit less threatening. Then again, maybe not. :-)Pam (

I just think it's really cool. I just wonder how Las Vegas will cope.

i think the million words count is misleading. does it include faq line questions, emails, etc that you've posted?

I'm sure it does. I can't see any way a word counter could figure out which words were mine and which were other people's, can you? I'm sure that wordcount also includes the occasional essays and speeches I've posted here, and, in all probability, the captions to photos. I suppose if you're worried about having been misled you could mentally change "I've written" to "I've written, reposted or cut and pasted".

Dear Neil,
Your mentioning of bangs vs. fringe was the tipping point of my curiosity and I finally had to look it up. The word "fringe" is fairly obvious visually, as that's what it looks like, but apparently "bangs" comes from "cut bang-off" which is a way of chopping the tail of a race horse so the hair is flat straight across. Or something.Being from North America I would rather my face did not reference the back-end of a horse, but I suppose there's nothing I can do about that. Especially since I've been known to wear ponytails now and again. Candace

I love it when I learn something.

Incidentally, I am reading Avram Davidson's Adventures in Unhistory (subtitled Conjectures on the Factual Foundations of Several Ancient Legends. Actually the title page is much longer than that, but I'll leave it to you to find one) every spare second I can grab reading time, and can unhesitatingly recommend it to any of you who have ever thought about being authors, or wondered about the origins of such things as Dragons or Mandrakes or where Sindbad actually sailed to, or who have ever dreamed of being sat down and told wonderful cool arcane and true things from a brilliant, crusty old author who thinks you're just as smart as he is, or you will be, once he's finished telling you something, in his own way and in his own time and the journey is always the destination. It's a maze of delightful digressions and bizarre wanderings. Wonderful stuff.

(If you're wondering if it's the sort of thing you'd like, here's the LA Times review.)

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