Wednesday, October 8, 2008

An Evening with Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman Reading

Though I hate to admit it, I am a bit of a homebody. In the evening I just like to settle in on our comfy couch with a good book and a calico snuggled on the lap. It has to be a pretty rare and special occasion to convince myself to break this routine. Yesterday was one of those rare and special occasions. Yes, I got off the couch (to the calico’s dismay) and spent a wonderful evening in Boulder with Neil Gaiman. Okay, it was actually me and 299 other people who went to see Mr. Gaiman read from his latest book, The Graveyard Book. He was outstanding, though I may be prejudice because he is my all time favorite author, no, I don’t think I am, he was outstanding.

He read the last half of chapter 7 which I won’t go into any details since that chapter gives a lot of the book’s mysteries away. He said the original plan was to read a chapter a stop, which worked out perfectly until he got to chapter 7 which is twice as long as any other chapter in the book. Thus he read the first half in Los Angeles Monday night and the 2nd half last night to us. He received a huge “NO!” when he stopped reading in LA because it just so happens the first part of chapter 7 ends on a rather steep cliffhanger.

Of course he has that lovely British brogue, but he added a Scottish accent for one of the characters that I quite enjoyed. Needless to say he has a wonderful reading voice and had the crowd laughing or at the edge of their seats waiting for the next passage. He said that on this book tour he took along Mr. Prosperity, who he then pointed out the gentlemen filming the reading, and said that the videos were being posted on his blog. Thus if you would like, you can also hear and see Neil read The Grave Yard Book.

After the reading we got a special treat and got to see behind the scene’s footage for the upcoming movie based on his book Coraline, where he magically grows a beard on the set or at least that is what he told us. Henry Selick, who was also the director of Nightmare Before Christmas, directs the movie. Neil said when Nightmare Before Christmas came out he left the theater going “why aren’t there more movies like this.” I totally agree, but sounds like we will get our wish come February 2009 when Coraline the movie hits the theaters.

Before his reading they had note cards out where you could write down a question for him to answer. After getting to see clips from Coraline, he came back on stage with the stack of note cards. He said that we had excellent questions, but horrible handwriting. The previous night in Los Angeles, he thought the questions were on the dull side, but the handwriting was beautifully legible. My husband was tickled because his was the 2nd question that Neil answered on where the inspiration came from for his movie MirrorMask. He said the inspiration and imagery was all Dave McKean, but then followed that up with an amusing story on them creating the movie and Terry Gilliam coming over for tea.

Then he had the usual questions on does he have an audience in mind when he starts a story. He says he writes for him and then let’s the publishers figure out the audience. He followed that up by saying a writer’s job is to explode, and then the publishers come in and pick up the shrapnel, bits and pieces and see if they can make a book out of it. He has no set writing routine, though wishes he did. He did mention that he tries to write where there is no internet because once he goes searching on something, 3 hours later... He broke his finger while coming down a mountain in China, which he thought if you had to break a finger, that was the way to do it because it was such a great story vs. breaking one by slamming it in a door. When asked what his to-read stacks of books were at home, he replied “a wall.” Then his all-time favorite breakfast is a cheese omelet.

He ended the evening reading us a poem he wrote for Tori Amos’s little girl, which is going to be published as a picture book coming out April 2009 called the Blueberry Girl. Beautiful poem for girls, and like Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You'll Go, I have a feeling it will be enjoyed more by us older kids than little ones.

Besides an imaginative and creative storyteller, he is an amusing speaker and I do not regret leaving the safe compounds of my home and comfy couch to spend the evening with him. Despite the protest from the calico.

1 comment:

Pamela McCarville said...

Excellent!!! Now really regretting not being there. Now, will Terry Gilliam be stopping by for tea . . .