Thursday, November 12, 2009


There were 38 independent bookshops around the land who had Graveyard Book parties. The people at Harpers somehow got it down to 11, and they sent them to me to judge the winner. The winner gets me for a signing in December. I watched the 11 videos/descriptions/ photos. I watched them again. I watched them yet again, this time with Lorraine, my assistant, watching too and saying helpful things like, "They are all so good. Whoo. Don't know how you'll make a decision. Look at that! They're line dancing to Monster Mash! And that Death is on stilts, isn't he. Is that a horse? A horse in a store? These are amazing." The fourth time, Woodsman Hans wandered in from the deep woods (where he is making a pond) and watched them too.

Then I made my decision. I called Elyse Marshall at Harpers and told her. "Ah," she said. "I'll have to check with the lawyers to find out if you can do that."

So we wait.


I posted the Amanda Palmer current East Coast tour dates here last night. for venues and details.

Today it occurred to me that in the past when I've had friends on tour, I've often done special "Neil sent me" things, where people who come from this blog get some special free thing, which a) is nice for the people who get the free thing and b) tells the person on tour that people are really coming from the blog. I did it with Thea Gilmore (who is starting a new UK tour next week. People in the UK, go and see live Thea Gilmore, for she is wonderful: for dates and venues.) I've done it for The Magnetic Fields, who, incidentally, have a new album coming out on Jan 26th. And then there's the Green Goddess restaurant in New Orleans, where you can mention the "Mezze of Destruction" to tell them you came from here and get sent something wonderful to eat or drink. (It changes, depending on what chef Chris DeBarr feels like making.)

I should do it for Amanda. I called her up and told her.

She called me back. "Beth and I have put our heads together and come up with a code phrase for people from your blog," she said. "So they say it and get a special free thing from the merch table."

"Fire away," I said.

"We think they should come over to the merch table and point to this poster...

...and say 'That chick in the yellow corset crowdsurfing looks kind of hot. I wonder if she's dating anyone?' And then they get something for free."

I said I thought that was a very bad idea, because people might say that anyway, and it was an awful lot for people to remember. And what if they sold out of that poster early that night?

I said, "What about any variant of 'Neil sent me from his blog?'"

"Absolutely not," she said. "That's boring."

I told her to leave it with me.

And then I stared at this screen glumly, with nothing happening in my head, and real work I should be doing starting to nip at my heels. So I turned to the Oracular Orb of truth at and I clicked on the orb and shook it.

Here is Doug Jones and some strange man it said.

If you go to one of Amanda Palmer's shows on this tour, wander over to the Merch table, and say that you found about it from some strange man's blog. And something good will probably happen. (If they just stare at you, tell them it was me, and this blog. If they keep staring tell them that the chick in the yellow corset in the poster looks like she probably has a really nice boyfriend.)


This seemed like a very good cause to me:

Hi Neil,

I am a long-time fan, and have even met you backstage at a Tori show (though that was many years ago!). I am writing to ask a bit of a favor.

About 10 years ago, I appeared on 20/20 with Tori, speaking about sexual violence. Since then, I've stayed close with Tori whose been a mentor of the best kind. I also started a nonprofit, Pandora's Project, that provides support, information, and resources to rape and sexual abuse survivors and their supporters. We operate Pandora's Aquarium, an online support group with more than 20,000 registered members.

Recently, I was named a 2009 L'Oreal Woman of Worth for my volunteer work with Pandora's. I was chosen for this honor from more than 2,500 applicants.

Now, one of the ten 2009 Honorees will be selected as the national honoree through a public online vote. Her cause will get an additional $25,000, and a lot of media exposure. This is the first time L'Oreal has recognized a sexual violence organization, and becoming the national honoree would allow me to shine a spotlight on this issue that affects so many women and women.

Voting is easy - people just need to go to the url below, enter their email address in the box on the right, and click the "submit vote" button. Each email address is allowed one vote, and voting ends November 24.

I am wondering if you might be willing to send people to this voting link via your (infinitely popular) twitter or blog. I understand if it's not something you can do, but my experience running a small-budget nonprofit tells me it's always wise to ask!

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Shannon Lambert

I'll plug it happily.

Your correspondent asks "Will you be reading the original version where the wolf actually is killed, and not the 'oh my goodness our kids can't hear about death' version in which they bring him to the zoo?"

I fear she's in error; in the original version, written by Prokofiev, Peter snares the wolf, then convinces the hunters NOT to kill it, but to take it to the zoo.

I've been researching, and that's what I found out too. Wikipedia has a list of changes made in various versions of the story (Disney, for example, had the wolf not eat the duck). But the wolf was always taken to the zoo...