Thursday, December 16, 2010

I have Mythological Dimensions. You cannot see them, but they are there.

The lump on Princess's face turns out to have been the equivalent of a giant cat-pimple. It's been drained. She's home again, and a bit grumpy about having had to go to the vets. She'll be around to be grumpy for a long time to come, I hope.

Just thought you'd want to know.

I'm writing a story and enjoying it. It's one of those odd stories that's almost true, in which the narrator is me, or almost, and I don't want to say anything more about it for fear of it going away.


The smodcast interview with Kevin Smith was awesome!

What is the title of that new song that Amanda sang? It's very emotional and amazing.

It's called "The Bed Song". Breaks my heart every time.

While enjoying the new anthology STORIES that you co-edited with Al Sarrantonio, I noted with interest that the “Also by Neil Gaiman” page lists your works in two categories: “For Adults” and “For All Ages.” No category “For Children”—the picture book The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish is listed as for all ages. More notable is that both Coraline and The Graveyard Book are listed under “For Adults,” though they are marketed as YA (The Graveyard Book even winning the Newbery Medal for “distinguished contribution to American literature for children”). So, my question: Was this subversion of the usual labels intentional, a sort of thumbing of your nose at artificial and overly-constricting booksellers’ categories?

I would love to say yes, hah! we are wild, but honesty compels me not to. I'm not sure who put the bibliography together, but I didn't see it before Stories came out, so didn't get a chance to correct it.

Hi there Neil! First off, I'm a fan (naturally), and I'd like to be a writer as well. I wanted to write a story about a house and all the people who've lived there, and I've always been inspired by Gothic-style houses. I saw your house on the website this week, and I thought, "Wow! Perfect!" I was wondering if had you any information on when your house was built, or if you designed your house and had someone build it. Basically, I'd love to know more about your home, but I completely understand if you decline to answer, as houses can be private things. Congrats on having such a gorgeous house, by the way! Thanks again for all that you do, your fans appreciate it.
Jennifer Smith

The House was built somewhere between 1885 and 1900, replacing a house that had burned down (which may well be why this house is brick). It was built by an artist and cartographer (and town clerk, and photographer and I am sure many other things) who came to America from Germany before the Civil War. And it's a wonderful house.

(According to a clipping from the local paper, the house was finished in 1885, but there are photographs of the house before the rear balcony and deck were finished dated 1900.)

The son of the man who built it was moderately famous in his field, and we used to get occasional visitors who wanted to see the house for that reason, although he was born in the house that burned down.

Hi, im from Brazil and me and a lot of ppl want to read American Gods (Deuses americanos in Brasil).
I'm here to ask Gaiman to twitt a message or a tag for ppl give RT and some publishing house publish that for us!

Please, dont ignore that message!
Thank you and sorry for my english.

You aren't the first person in Brazil to grumble about books having gone out of print (or about paying high prices for second-hand copies). I've asked my agent to investigate and to work to get the various books that have been published in Brazil back into print there.


Following on from "The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who", a call for academic papers for "The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman" :

Jessica and Anthony, who are doing it, say: The volume is intended to be a critical work, but primarily a text written by fans for fans. The first volume in the series, The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who set the stage for the general approach & tone.... While we are academics by nature, this series is our attempt to break the so-called 'academic' mold & approach things that we find fascinating. The concept came out of Mythcon 39, which my husband chaired & which the other editor Kristine & I also organized.


Dear Mr.Gaiman,

I read in A Conversation with Bill Baker, that as a child you always daydreamed about being a writer. On your website I saw that when you were fifteen you told a career counselor that you wanted to write American comic books. The counselor told you to consider accountancy.

Did you ever have a teacher that thought you were a creative writer and encouraged you to write?

(I love the video of your dogs in the blizzard.)

Stay Warm,
Shayna Sadow
New Jersey

I had a few excellent English teachers -- Bill Hayes at Ardingly, Dick Glynne-Jones and a very smart American teacher, a Mr Wright, at Whitgift, but I don't remember any of them encouraging me to write, although they were often enthusiastic about what I had written.

I loved to write as a boy. But I don't think anyone except me, secretly, thought I was going to grow up to be a writer. (I may be wrong. I should ask Geoff Notkin.)

Dear Neil,

A few days ago, I had to give my first public reading as part of the graduation requirements for Creative Writing Majors at Warren Wilson College in the currently-not-too-snowy mountains of western North Carolina. It was terrifying. I had about ten minutes in front of a crowd of about one hundred students, faculty, friends, and family. As someone who stands up in front of much bigger crowds and reads for much longer periods of time, can you tell me, who hopes to be a well-known writer someday, if it becomes more routine and less terrifying?

Kindest regards,
Hilary B. Bisenieks

Sort of. After you've done it a few times, and they haven't stoned you, or made you leave the stage by throwing bottles at you, it becomes significantly less terrifying. And it can help to think of them as individulas (not scary) as opposed to crowds (scary).

But for me, the terror never really goes away. And I've learned to treasure that, the adrenaline rush before I go on. It keeps me awake, and interested, and helps me think slightly faster, and slows down time just a hair.

And finally, this made me smile:

I just read your December 9th Ask Neil responses about writing and college, and I had to add in my own experience with writing, college, and (of course) Neil Gaiman. Your part in this was pretty small, and you probably don't remember it, but it was oddly monumental for me.

Throughout high school, I was determined not to go to college. My grades were never the best, and I'd seen the stress my friends went through during the application process. Since I was seventeen and therefore knew everything, I was going to graduate and work at a diner or something until I shattered the world with my epic writing. Because, you know, that always works. This was a big source of friction between my mother, who desperately wanted me to continue my education, and myself.

I think it was in 2008 when you were an author at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC--maybe 2009, whichever was the year after Pratchett showed up. The Book Festival's somewhat of a tradition for my family, and when I heard you were going to be talking-- Well, I'm a big fan. Words fail to convey the fangirl spaz-attack of a high-schooler, but I'm sure you're not without experience in that department. It was enough, anyway, that my mother apparently concocted a plan.

We waited in line for hours upon hours, and she snuck in front of me to get a book signed for a friend. In the few precious moments she had before I shoved my way to the front, she apparently asked you to tell me to go to college. I don't know what, exactly, she said, because I didn't hear it. I just heard your response, which was something along the lines of "You want me to tell her to go to college? I'm not going to tell her to go to college. I didn't even go to college, I just wanted to write!"

I then proceeded to loudly and awkwardly declare her burn'd, giggle uncontrollably, and ask you some mundane and probably stupid question about Neverwhere that had been bugging me. Now, two-or-one-or-maybe-three years later, I'm writing this from my dorm room in Coe College, IA, which is rather unfortunate for that temporary victory. Don't get me wrong--I love my school, and I'm actually really happy I didn't take your advice, but I'm glad you gave it. It got her off my case long enough for me to make up my own mind.

Anecdote over, though, Coe's pretty renowned for its writing program. We've got professors from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, they've got lots of pretty degrees, and on a one-on-one sense they're all great people. I've taken one Creative Writing class here, a writer's workshop on fiction. It's been enough to make me drop the major. In the beginning of the class, nearly every writer was submitting fantasy or science fiction. By the end, hardly anyone was submitting anything, and those who did submit were submitting non-genre works. Sure, they were well-written. And I know a few people who've gotten through the program genre-intact. But I can't imagine that this method works for everyone; I know it doesn't work for me.

I guess my point here was to say thanks again for good advice, or at least for posting the advice/questions of others and agreeing. I'm now enrolled as a major in Gender Studies and English, hopefully going to minor in Anthropology if the school gets that squared away, and hoping to continue to law school. None of this has anything to do with writing a novel at all, technically, but it's helped my writing so much more than the classes ever did.

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