I don't know how many of you know, or care, that Neil Gaiman has a new book out titled Fragile Things. It's a short story / poem collection and he is doing a brief publicity tour behind it. Tonight he was in Berkeley. And, because for the first time ever he has been in the same state I am when I wasn't doing a show, so was I.
Honestly, I wish I could have a recording of the whole thing. It was just lovely. He looks like he does in his photos (his hair is just a touch too long again). His accent is vaguely British, sometimes noticeably but most times not. He was wearing a black t-shirt and black jeans and he stood behind a podium and read. First he read the poem The Day the Saucers Came and honestly it's worth the price of admission all on its own. Both his reading, and the poem. Then the short story Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of the Dread Desire (and this is the shortened title). Then the poem Instructions. Then he answered questions that people had written down on cards before hand. We found out about the project he is doing with Penn Jillette, the music that sounds like hell, and all of the movies he currently has in production. And seriously Stardust sounds like it will be amazing. And he told us what makes him happy (after joking that it was people who write in black pen since the question had been written in yellow on a white card) and that Dr. Who is his favorite tv show in part because he can watch it with his 12 year old daughter and they both like it. And then he read us one more story, October in the Chair, and he gave all the months different voices. And then it was done. I've looked through my copy of the book (bought tonight pre-signed - he wasn't doing an actual signing because as he put it "it's 30 seconds where you forget how to spell your name and I stare at your belt buckle and hope my hand doesn't fall off") and realized how many of the stories I've already read, because if I know an anthology has a Gaiman story in it I buy it. He is one of the only authors I am a completist about and I own some very odd things because of it. (For example, did you know he wrote an introduction to a book of art for Vampire:the game? He did.)
Seeing him read his own work was amazing. Partially because he's very good at it, and partially because he's just this guy really. He isn't surrounded by a nimbus of magic and he doesn't shoot lightning from his eyes. He just makes things up and enjoys it. And being a part of that, even as peripherally as I was, for one night is incredibly cool. I almost don't want to start the book because I know how quickly I'll read it. Then again I want to gulp it down so I can start re-discovering pieces, wallowing in my favorites.
Nanowrimo is just around the corner. I am intending to play again this year, maybe this time I'll manage to finish something I'm even willing to let someone else read. All I know is that right now I am inspired to try again, and that was certainly worth the price of admission also.
He's reading again tomorrow night at Kepler's books in Menlo Park. I almost, almost, want to skip the VM premiere party and go hear him again, in case he reads something different or they ask different questions. I won't, but it's tempting.
And you know, being at the reading also kept me from watching the Packers get themselves kicked around by the Eagles. So yet another positive.
Of course not being home on Monday nights puts me hoplessly behind on tv. Ah well.
In conclusion one of the things that makes me happy is Neil Gaiman.