An Inspiring Evening with Neil Gaiman and The Ocean at the End of the Lane

A quick post today, while things are still fresh in my mind. Anyone who follows me on Twitter might have picked up on the few (several) small (huge) posts I made about going to see Neil Gaiman on publication day of his new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I've been a fan of his for many years now, ever since my wife introduced me to his stuff. So, fittingly, I bought her tickets as a surprise and tagged along so she wouldn't be lonely.

The evening was a blast. Gaiman, who'd flown in from England that morning and, frankly, must have the constitution of a bull on acid, read from his book, answered questions, and introduced a surprise appearance of his wife and rock-star Amanda Palmer. He's a brilliant writer, of course, but more than that he's a brilliant thinker - the question and answer session showed that. From his awe-inspiringly well-rounded views on semi-colons to talking about his parent's support for, or lack of support for, storytelling, he seems to be an artist who's always thinking honestly and openly.

Being with more than 1000 other people who love books and stories and words and magic made the Brooklyn Academy of Music a spectacular place (and it's already a spectacular building).

The passages Neil read showed that TEATEOTL is a more under-stated 'realism but with dark magic' book than, say, The Graveyard Book - and by his own admission it's a personal, not-autobiographical-but-it-kind-of-is story about childhood and belief and the world as a whole. It's funny, too - 1000 people laughing at the same line funny - but I sense that it's also sad and serious. I will let you know when I read it.

I truly enjoyed going last night. Meeting authors should always be fun. My wife and I queued for (ahem) a few hours to get our books signed-  but being able to tell Gaiman that I had a book coming out, and that he was an inspiration, and then having him want to shake my hand for it and sign his book to a 'fellow author' made the waiting in line seem suddenly so, so worth it.

A great night, delving into what it's like to live your entire life making up stories. It's also inspired me to attempt more author events in the future. For now, though, real life goes on.

I just hope that one day real life and making up stories will be, for me, the very same thing.

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