Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Maddy and I are going to the UK for a few days, on Graveyard Book movie matters. We just went for a father's day walk in the woods, where we were bitten by special father's day mosquitoes.

I'm confronting the hard facts of being the father of a thirteen-nearly-fourteen-year-old-daughter. For example, I learned today that we can no longer travel using carry-on luggage. We have to check luggage, something I don't like to do and avoid whenever I can, but that has become unavoidable. This is, I was told, because Maddy has liquid Hair Care products that have to come with us.

"We're going to England," I told her. "It's a country flowing with milk and honey and hair-care products. There's a Boots on every corner, or nearly, and there's definitely one in any airport we'll be flying into. Before we leave the airport I can buy you more haircare products than you can easily carry, all of them guaranteed to be just as hair-care-producty as anything you could get in WalMart."

"That's nice of you," she said firmly. "And you can get me them too if you like. But I'll have to bring my own haircare products as well."

"It's ENGLAND," I said. "Not Antarctica. Sixty million people! They wash their hair there. They put goopy stuff on it after they've washed it. There are more weird hair-care things that I don't know what they are on the shelves of Boots than there in the whole of the US. We wouldn't have to check luggage..."

I lost the argument. Everyone else seems to think I'm missing the point. Maddy's sister on the phone from the UK told me I'd lost. Even Maddy's mother does nothing more than smile. Sigh. I wish that the dog could talk. He's male. I bet he'd back me up. (Actually, if he could talk he'd just say, "You're going away? When there might be thunderstorms? You know no-one else can protect me from thunderstorms. Whoa...I forgot what we were just talking about. Can we go for a walk now?" because he's a dog.)

We'll be checking luggage. Did I mention that already?

Happy Father's Day. Did you know there's a Win A Copy Of The Dangerous Alphabet Competition going on? 50 copies to be won...

And did you know it's the World's End message board's Seventh Birthday? (I didn't, but the lovely Amy AKA Aitapata just told me.) Congratulations to all the board people and moderators!

Dear Neil,
I recently finished reading your (and John Romita Jr.'s) version of Eternals for the second time, and I was wondering (because I've already researched it and I can't find anything about it) if you'll continue it? It's an amazing comic, and I would like to know whether to expect more of it...Thank you, Jessica.

I'm glad you liked it. No, my brief on the Eternals was to get them working again in the Marvel Universe, so that other people could tell stories with them. The good news is that the whole of Jack Kirby's original Eternals series is coming out in two trade paperbacks, and that Marvel are releasing an ongoing Eternals series. (Available right now in your local comic shop.)

Dear Neil, I am sure you have probably answered this question before and are probably, therefore, very sick of it. But, I still must ask. I am an aspiring writer and am wondering how you stayed motivated during times of great failure. I understand what many writers mean when they say the love of the art drives them. What I am concerned with is how to deal with the inevitable denial of a piece of literature that you have invested everything in?

Write the next thing.

Maybe the world will catch up with your brilliance eventually, or maybe you'll look back in ten years and decide it wasn't that great really after all. Doesn't really matter. Times of great failure or times of great success, the problem is the same (how do you keep going?) and the solution is the same: You write the next thing.

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