Friday, November 02, 2007

The past tense of looming

The chipmunk was still in my drainpipe. It made noises in the night. It threw wild chipmunk parties on the other side of the wall to the headboard of my bed. Something had to be done. There was a trail of birdseed leading in to the drainpipe, left by the chipmunk. I thought, right. Best thing to do is to catch him and then move him somewhere else, and while he was out to put something in the drainpipes like a metal grille or wire-wool or something a chimpunk cannot get through.

There's a live trap in the garage I've used over the years to relocate woodchucks. I got it and put it at the base of the drainpipe. I filled a bowl with sunflower seeds as bait and put it into the trap. I went inside to answer the phone.

"Any particular reason you're trapping squirrels?" asked my assistant Lorraine as she came in.

"You mean chipmunks," I said. And then, "Oh bugger."

I went out and freed the squirrel from the trap, who ran up into a tree and shouted rude things at me in Squirrel. Things so obviously rude and personally insulting that I was just relieved I don't speak squirrel.

The chipmunk is still, of course, in my drainpipe.

I do not care, because I am off for the Beowulf junket and premiere and will not sleep in my bed for a while. Maybe by the time I get home he'll have moved.


More information on the Dave McKean "Luna" origami crabs at

a "Nice Hair" Hallowe'en treat from Miss Em -- a three page story in which her Neil character becomes... ah, but that would be telling... (I liked the way he was lured out by a cup of tea most of all...)

Hi Neil.

I was wondering if the looming writer's strike has the potential to impact any of your projects.


Aurora, CO

More than looming. It has loomed, and I am now On Strike. I've never been On Strike before. (Mark Evanier's blog -- -- gives a lot of background and information on today's events, and adds to it.)

And yes, it impacts some of my projects. It means that the US TV network that wanted to option a book of mine to make into a TV series isn't going to be able to buy it (or anything else of mine) until the strike is done. It means that I'm not going to be able to do the rewrites and polishes on the 1999 NEVERWHERE movie script for Hensons and the Weinstein Company until the strike is done. It means that Roger Avary and I won't be able to rewrite or polish or work on BLACK HOLE. That I can't discuss or sign on to (MOVIE X) until the strike's done.

I also need to talk to the WGA and find out whether I can write a TV project for the BBC (I suspect the answer will be No, but I should ask).

It doesn't impact Beowulf, which was written in 1997 and rewritten in 2005, and Roger Avary and I will still be doing the press for it, because that's not a writing job. I don't know if it impacts Henry Selick's work (as a writer, not as a director) on Coraline or not -- probably not.

Truth to tell, I'm in a slightly better position than most WGA writers in that I can (and do) write books and things that aren't TV and films in addition to writing TV and films, so all it means is I'm now going to finish writing a book a would have finished writing anyway, and when that's done I'll raise my head above the parapet, blink, look around and figure out what I'm going to do next.


I was talking a few days ago about having somewhere to put photos of all the Hallowe'en costumes based on stuff I'd written, and Emily rose to the challenge:

Calling all Neil fans:

A Flickr site has been created so that you can share photos of any Neil-inspired costumes, crafts, or other creations that you have made. The photo album can be viewed here:

Instructions on how to submit your photos to the album are here:

We've already got a couple of submissions. Keep 'em coming!


Hi Neil,

Just curious, how do you see this journal of yours, especially in relation to the newly rising blog culture that we have here, as well as your growing fame-itude? It seems that when you first started, no one really knew what to write in these internet thingies, and now even dogs have blogs. Where do you see yourself on the blog spectrum? Related to this, I remember you mentioning at a talk several years ago that you wanted to limit your fame-itude by not getting your photo into books and suchlike (citing Stephen King as an example, I think). And yet I can "see" you every day in my rss feed aggregator, along with images of Maddy and odd videos here and there. So my question is, what has changed over the last few years? Your view on fame-itude? Your blogging habits? The internet?

Many thanks,


I've never minded author photos on books -- the Stephen King thing I would have mentioned was Steve telling me that he wished he had never done the American Express "Do You Know Me?" ad, when suddenly people knew what he looked like. It moved his face into public consciousness. (I'm glad to say I don't think I'm there yet -- and I hope I never will be.)

I guess I'm more famous than I'm comfortable with, but that's just something that is, and I don't think there's much that can be done about it. I don't think it has much to do with the blog, or with the fact that you can watch videos of me on YouTube. And I've managed to go many years without seeing myself on the blog spectrum, but if I have to be anywhere I'd like to be at the point where the indigo shades into the violet, please.

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