Friday, February 5, 2010

In Which Neil Gaiman reads me a bedtime story

He did! He really did! My husband was sitting next to me and so were hundreds of other people at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus, but last night Neil Gaiman read excerpts of The Graveyard Book to me! The show started at 8 and ended around 10 and I am often asleep by then so it was like an honest-to-goodness bedtime story!

Wow!! Thanks Neil!!! It's nice to be read to for once. Could we do that again sometime?

He also read a bit of something new he's working on- a piece about horror and English Seaside Hotels. It was not-surprisingly amazing and creepy and funny and very Neil Gaiman.

Hooked already? I know, right?  

Jason and I agreed that our favorite was an excerpt about a story of a crippled boy, a bear, a fox and an eagle, entitled Odd and the Frost Giants, that he wrote as a "world book." What is a world book you ask? Neil explained that world books are part of a charitable initiative in the UK and Ireland focused on providing children with the experience of going into a bookstore, choosing and purchasing a book. The organization responsible for this chooses authors and asks them to write a children's book, no longer than 100 pages. The authors receive no payment for these books and the publisher publishes them at no cost. Each school-age child is given 2 tokens. Each world book costs 1 token and children go crazy picking out their two new books. Children in the UK and Ireland love this time of year, when the new world books are issued, and its easy to understand why when Neil Gaiman represents the caliber of authors to pen these books. 

The last half hour was a Q & A. My favorite quote of the night was in response to a question. Someone asked Neil if he outlines or just starts writing and keeps writing until he's done. He said, without a doubt, he just writes. He said he realized that "to some that seems like jumping out of a plane and then knitting your parachute on the way down" but that's how he's always done it and that's what works best.

Being a parachute-knitter myself, I loved that answer!


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