Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Where I am and what I am doing. Also, Dogs.

In case you are wondering where I am, which is something I often do, I am in New Orleans for a small birthday gathering for my 50th birthday, which is tomorrow, and for the Amanda Palmer Dresden Dolls gig on Friday (it's a special gig - a gulf oil spill relief-benefit forBTNEP, an organisation that is working to preserve, protect, and restore the Barataria and Terrebonne estuaries of Louisiana).

(Here is a link to a photo of me yesterday in my natural habitat.)


Given that my dogs are not here and I miss them today, I thought I should do a brief tutorial in dog recognition.

Cabal's on the left here, Lola's on the right.

There. That was easy, wasn't it? Mm, probably not. So...

Here are two photos by the Birdchick that I just went and stole from fuckyeahcabal.

Cabal looks sort of noble. A lot of the time he also looks serious, as if he is doing complicated long division problems in his head and does not want to be disturbed. He has a pink nose. He likes staying close to me and is still recovering from a couple of spinal operations, and a couple of leg operations, but is now walking again, and even running, sometimes. He's almost 8 years old, which means he's sort of my age in dog years.

Lola would not know noble if it sat on her head. She has a slightly pointy face, an embarrassed grin and a black nose. She bounds and is impossible to exhaust. She's about 9 months old, and seems like a teenager. If I leave things on the floor she may chew them. She likes leafpiles better than anything in the whole world.

They get on really well, and on the whole, Cabal seems much happier with Lola around, and Lola is settling down. She plays well with us. We're hoping that eventually she'll play well with other dogs. (As a smaller puppy, she was Sent Home from Doggie daycare with a Stiff Note.)


And The Price is on the front page of You should go and see what other great projects they have that people can help fund. Also, if you can, help spread the word about The Price. It's been up on Kickstarter for less than a week and is already almost 1/3rd funded. It's Christopher Salmon's dream project. I'd love to see him make it.


I'm feeling so odd about turning 50. The last time I felt like this was, strangely enough, when I turned 24.

I'd liked being younger than 24. Anything cool I did, people would say "And he's so young," and that felt good. And then suddenly I was 24 and I felt like I couldn't be a boy wonder any longer, and the world had become level.

Turning 50, I feel like, damn: I can't be a promising young writer any longer. For the last decade, I've hated getting Lifetime Achievement awards, they'd make me feel squirmy and awkward, and now I'm going, ah, I'm going to have to accept them with good grace.

But I'm glad I'm a writer. There are a lot of professions in which you're done by my age. And I don't feel done at all.


Hi Neil

I received an email this morning from the Sydney Opera House which revealed that you and Amanda are performing there together on Australia Day, January 26th.

Needless to say my wife and I grabbed tickets (G25 & G26 if you would like to wave to us!).

I have not seen any mention in your Journal or Where’s Neil as yet. Are you in a position to give us any information on this concert as yet?

Also will you be doing any other events or signings whilst in Sydney this time? I would like to get my final two Absolute Sandman’s signed and I’ll need a lot of warning so I can get to the gym and work out. Those mothers are heavy.

All the best
Chris Harcourt

Sorry about that -- the gig is Amanda's, and I was waiting for her to announce it, and I think the Opera House may have announced it themselves before she expected it. She put up a hasty entry on her blog.

I don't know about signings and such, I'm afraid.

The TRUTH IS A CAVE IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS reading I did in Sydney earlier this year with FourPlay string Quartet and Eddie Campbell art is going to happen again, with, I think, some extra paintings, at the MONA festival in Hobart on January 15th - details at

With respect to the tea party gone awry but actually for the better tale, told in the "A gallimaufry" blogpost, does it worry you that as charming as the story is, it also smacks somewhat of cronyism and a reminder that privilege begets privilege? I mean, I'm sure the young lady was lovely, but how nice for her that her mum could afford $4,400 for her to have tea with you, and that led to a masterclass from Paul Levitz, and then to an internship. Not a lot of kids at Cooper Union or RISD could afford $4,400 for tea, could they? It pays to have money.

I'd love to love your tale of the tea that went rightly wrong, but it gives me a slightly sick feeling instead. I wish you had a different tale to inspire me about the Moth auction.

You know, I've known too many people who won auctions and such, and then told me sometimes heartbreaking stories of how they managed to pay for it, to ever take it for granted that anyone who paid for something like that (or her mother) could easily afford it.

My attitude is that if you've managed to win an auction for a good cause that I support- for something like the CBLDF or The Moth or RAINN,- then I'm going to look after you as best I can.

It was lucky that the young lady was interested in comics, and had already told me she wanted to edit comics, because, when we discovered that the afternoon that the Moth had tried to set up for us had failed completely and utterly, I hailed a taxi, headed for DC Comics, hoped that everyone I knew hadn't left for the day, and talked my way in.

It could have gone wrong another hundred different ways. We were lucky that Paul Levitz was knocking off for the day, and had wandered down the corridor to say goodnight. We were also lucky that Paul is someone who thinks that knowledge should be shared and passed on to the next generation, and that the young lady asked smart questions, and impressed him enough that he told her how to apply for a summer internship. And it came as a pleasant surprise to me a few weeks ago to find that she had applied for one, and that was how she'd spent her summer.

But you obviously (or maybe it isn't obvious, so I will say it here) don't need to pay thousands for a Moth Benefit tea with me to get a summer internship with DC Comics, or with Marvel, or with Dark Horse. You don't need to pay anything at all. What you need is to keep an eye on their web pages, to apply in time and make yourself sound like someone they'd like to have around the office for the summer. (Here's last year's MAD Magazine internship applications, for example.)

And as far as I was concerned, the point of the story was that, while the adventure happened last year, the Moth have promised that it won't happen again, and that this time wherever I turn up for tea, will have tea and will be expecting me.

Personally, I keep hoping that one year they'll suggest SUSHI WITH NEIL GAIMAN as a Moth prize. For now, it's tea. Unless something goes wrong.;jsessionid=FCG-PzM5xkCyEjNyq4b0yw**.app3-i?id=120626095


The way the FAQ line mailbox works, most of the letters that come in are people saying thank you for the stories, and while I read them, I normally don't post them here. But every now and again, one touches me in an unexpected way. Take a look at the part of this journal entry from 2005...

Go and read it. I'll still be here when you get back.

Right. This just came in, as a sequel...

I wrote to you in 2005 about my son, Jared. I'm sure you don't remember, but you posted my comment on your April, 29, 2005 journal entry.

I had been told that Jared, then 5, had visual and auditory processing disorders and that he'd never learn to read. We went to a book reading of yours, and then, a couple of years later, Jared found his signed copy of Coraline and decided he would teach himself to read it. He did it!

Jared is 12 now, still homeschooled, and I'm happy to say is reading and comprehending on a college level. We found out that he 'only' has a visual processing disorder (VPD), a fine motor delay and he's highly gifted. Because of the VPD, he has no visual memory... he cannot make 'pictures' in his mind. He describes it as 'just being black in there'.

We were talking about his VPD, and I asked him how he taught himself to read. He replied that he remembered your book reading, so he decided to figure out how to 'translate' the weird squiggles on the page into auditory sounds so he could remember them. (This explains the difficulty he had transitioning from reading aloud to silently!)

I'm almost certain that if he had had someone try to teach him to read, he couldn't have done it. It seems that you gave him an idea that allowed him to figure out how to overcome his disability.

Over the years, this has given him the confidence to overcome a number of hurdles. He simply thinks back to teaching himself to read, after several adults had told him he never would, and he is reminded of how remembering you reading aloud gave him the idea to 'translate' written words into sounds... and he thinks outside the box to figure out a way around whatever he's having trouble with.

As I said, he's 12 now, and reading "Grey's Anatomy", the medical school textbook, for fun! He has decided to be a trauma surgeon.

I honestly don't think his life would have turned out this way if we hadn't taken him to your book reading.

So, thank you again for writing, for reading, and for changing my child's life.

Heather (Hubbard) Conrad

Thank you, Heather. Tell Jared I'm a fan.

Hi Neil,

Do you know when the Absolute Sandman vol 1 will be reprinted? Or if it will be?

It's out of stock pretty much everywhere I have looked.



They've been reprinted already, and are in a boat crossing the ocean. I think they'll arrive in January. I also checked the DreamHaven Books site, and they have it in stock as well.

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