Earlier this month Tim and I got to meet Neil Gaiman in Santa Rosa!!! Tim bought tickets for the event months in advance, so given the fact that it fell on the day before Papang’s viewing was such a blessing because I really needed something spectacular to help cheer me up and get my mind off all the sadness that was going on back home.
It was so lovely just listening to Neil Gaiman talk about his writing process, what inspires him, how Shirley MacLaine asked him if she could touch his hair because she didn’t believe it was real and tugged at it (real hard), and he also read an excerpt from his new novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane (which is F*CKING GORGEOUS by the way), and a bit from his soon to be released children’s book Fortunately, The Milk, which will be released in September (or October… don’t recall). I’ve been excited about that one for awhile since I heard that Skottie Young is doing the artwork for it. His art is simply beautiful! But back to Neil. He also talked about how when he wrote Anansi Boys, there was a point where he just felt it was utter rubbish and called his editor apologizing for it, and that he’d stop wasting her time, that he would just quit writing all together, find a decent job or hobby (bee keeping!), and be on his way. His editor’s reply to that was, “Oh, so you’re at that part of your novel.” Apparently, he gets like this with each book he writes and she also noted that her other clients tend to do this as well. He said, “I couldn’t even feel unique in my own tragedy!” Haha!
Tim and I had requested an art commission from Jenny Parks to create a portrait of his dog Cabal, who passed away last year, as the 11th Doctor [pictured below] so we could present it to him as a way to say, “Thank you for your wonderful stories and for inspiring us in all of our artistic endevors.” Once we finally got in line I told Tim to give it to him because I was so damn nervous and I knew I was going to stumble over my words if I tried to say anything to him.
So, we were in the first batch of folks to go meet him and I had a silent panic attack because I was about to meet one of my, for lack of a better word, idols. Or maybe role model? I think role model sounds a little less intense than idol. Okay, so I’m about to meet one of my role models! I don’t write science fiction/fantasy per say, but the man’s an amazing story teller so it’s hard not to be inspired — y’know what I’m sayin’? Anyway, I go before Tim and I handed him my copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which had a sticky note with my name on it so he would know who to make it out to, and I wanted to tell him that I read it and thought it was so brilliant and that it helped me re-think about the way I wrote the narration of a story I did during my last semester at SFSU and haven’t touched in years, but my mind went blank. I said, “I work at a bookstore and was able to borrow it before I came here!” After I said that I was like, “You twit! Think of something else to say to recover!” But my thoughts were running in zigzags and my mouth and brain couldn’t coordinate a string of coherent thoughts, and he had already signed my copy of The Graveyard book and gave me thanks for coming. I didn’t even at least say, “I loved it and found it inspiring.” Nope. A co-worker told me that my being there was enough to show him that I’m a huge fan and whatnot, but NO!
I stood to the side as Tim was getting his books signed and then he presented the portrait to Neil Gaiman. He said “My girlfriend and I got this commissioned for you…” etc etc, and his eyes went all buggy as he looked at it and exclaimed in his charming British accent, “That’s my dog! As the Doctor!” And then he shook Tim’s hand and said thank you and I’m thinking, “WAIT! I GAVE IT TO YOU TOO!” x__x
But oh well! I’m just so glad that he really liked it and also the fact that I was able to just be there.
He’s actually going to have a panel tomorrow at Comic-Con and I have a day-pass for Sunday, so who knows. Maybe I will get to redeem myself 🙂