Me on my 25th birthday.
I turned 25 this year and I had a bit of a quarter life crisis. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and I was looking for advice on how to navigate this crazy adventure that is my 20’s. So for my birthday I asked my family to write a letter to themselves…
I flew half way around the world for this. I have since returned to reality, recovered from the trip and gotten back to the daily grind. I cope by snacking, no, bingeing on sugary preserved ginger. And I still don’t have the right words to describe it. Except maybe: “It happened.” Oh yeah.
So I am going to let the photos do the talking. Because I took lots. While we were waiting in the queue outside the Geary Theatre. While we were waiting inside the Geary Theatre. While we were waiting in the signing line on stage. When he looked up at me and smiled… No I didn’t take that one. I was stunned. Or some would say, starstruck.
I didn’t even say anything. At least the guy before me managed to deliver a worship song of gratitude. “Neil, you are such an inspiration.” Repeat five times. Me? I guess I smiled back.
So here goes…
It was a sunny late afternoon. We got there about a quarter past four.
Found ourselves some urine-scented steps to sit on and we waited. We were probably within the first 20 people. Hurray.
We took turns to get dinner.
I pretended to read.
We people-watched. And before we knew it, two hours went by…
And we were in! With our copy of ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’.
Before long, like magic, Neil appeared and the universe stopped breathing, the stars burst out in gasps and the people of the world fell on their knees.
Well, alright, we clapped. And we laughed. Because Neil was a funny guy. With great showmanship. And because we all loved him.
Photos, at this point of time, were not allowed. I am surprised I didn’t break the law. But like I said, Neil was a funny guy. He said hi. He read from the new book. While I fought the urge to fall asleep. (Good things do that to me. But that’s another story.)
I lost. I fell asleep. For two seconds. Maybe two minutes.
After that he answered some questions written on cards by some of us earlier. And he read from his new children’s book ‘Fortunately, the Milk’, which I enjoyed very much.
Then it was time to get the books signed. We were among the first few.
Here’s one angle.
Here’s another angle.
We celebrated the evening with white wine in little plastic cups, and talked for two hours. About life, love, words. The universe and the stars. You know, stuff.
It was one of those nights…
When one of my favourite writers of all time married this strange woman, I prayed to all the gods he had created to help me like her. As a long-time fan, I was naturally protective - not so much of him, but more of my impression and idea of him. I needed the adoration to stay constant and familiar. Sort of like a back-of-mind affection. But this woman artist/puppet/performer/nudist threw a loose screw into the muffin.
Neil Gaiman became a… not different, not new… Well, he became someone this fan had to relearn.
I have to say though that it has been an interesting and artistically-gratifying and somewhat emotionally-voyeuristic experience getting to know the writer, the writer’s wife and the writer and his wife collectively. Thanks much, of course, to the open display of affection between two artists in love during the age of the Internet.
This passionate relationship is the stage and we are the audience. Here are some of my favourite moments from the show:
2. The one when they made their red carpet appearance at The Golden Globes. Coraline, the neat little movie based on one of Neil’s children’s books, was nominated for Best Animated Feature. Amanda blogged about it here.
3. The one with the photograph of them naked in bed. Neil blogged about it here.
4. The one where Neil sings. On stage. Last New Year’s eve. He blogged about it here.
5. The one where Amanda reviewed Neil’s new book, The Ocean At The End of The Lane, AND their marriage. I thought the art-blender metaphor was brilliant. Read here (including credits for the blender photo).
Expect more from this wonderfully bizarre yet warm show as Neil goes on tour now for the new book. I am excited to be seeing the man-wizard himself in San Francisco this summer. Maybe the Mrs will make a cameo appearance.