I used to be a member of the SciFi Book club – starting in 1991. Every month – whether I bought a book or not – I got a cool flyer telling me all about the new sci-fi and fantasy books coming out. I found tons of books (e.g. The Wheel of Time) I might never have known about. I only stopped buying through them when I discovered used book stores, because used book stores don’t take book club editions (as a rule). I’m sure it was in a SciFi Book Club flyer that I first saw Sandman comics/graphic novels and thought they looked cool. But, being a broke child, I never did buy one (because the graphic novels were more expensive than the regular books). But I did buy Neverwhere – partly because I’d wanted Sandman, and partly because it was a recommended book that month. Or maybe it was on sale. Neverwhere was my very first Neil Gaiman experience, and there was no turning back.
Fast-forward… 14 years? Now I’m obsessed with his blog. I can’t stop reading it. So far, I’ve read back to July of 2009, then decided to start at the beginning (of the current blog) in September of 2001 and read forward and I’ve gotten as far as January February March 2002 (and this while having intermittent connectivity issues which are DRIVING ME CRAZY). I joined twitter so I could ‘follow’ him. I’m watching interviews with him on the web, and reading his blog at work when I should be working. I’m practically a stalker (but still staying on the right side of the law-dog). I was bored with the book I was reading (A Disobedient Girl) and decided to re-read Good Omens because he was talking about the audiobook (and I’d already re-read American Gods lately). He likes the same people I do (Pratchett, Chabon, Gibson) and seems strangely connected to other creative people I like as well (de Lint, Miyazaki). It’s like proof that the things I like are cool, and that I’m not crazy for seeing meaning where others see coincidence. Example:
I was reading a journal entry of Neil’s (I call him by his first name because I feel like he’s my personal friend. I know it’s presumptuous. But it makes me feel special) about an artist he likes/finds inspiring/collaborates with, Lisa Snellings Clark. I click the links (which – keep in mind – are 8 years old) so I can see some of her artwork. Not much luck with the links, so I do a Google search for her name and find her blog. Above the ‘about me’ widget there is a link that says ‘Lisa explains it all at Stainless Steel Droppings.’
My eyes must have looked like an anime character at that point.
Stainless Steel Droppings is a blog I’ve read just recently that, among other things, reviews books. A friend sent me a link a few weeks ago to a review Mr. Droppings had written because he was announcing a new Charles de Lint book and she wanted to make sure I knew about it. To recap, that is Neil Gaiman-Lisa Snellings Clark(2002)-Stainless Steel Droppings (2008)-Me(April 2010), and also Friend of Mine-Charles de Lint-Stainless Steel Droppings-Me(April 2010). I’m not imagining things – the world is conspiring to shower me with blessings.
In case all of that seems like it’s just me wasting time:
Reading about all the different projects (my super-close pal) Neil has going on, and the way he works on half-dozen things at a time (apparently) and enjoys other artists’ work in various mediums… somehow it is encouraging me to put more effort into writing, and deciding what to do about the whole writing thing. I’m not a fiction writer, so what kind of (non-academic) thing do I want to be writing? I know that the first rule of writing is to put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking – my handwriting sucks and I can type a lot closer to fast enough when the muse is on).
Write, even if it’s bad, even if it’s garbage. Write. Because if you do it enough, you will get to the good stuff – assuming you have any. And the bad stuff will get better. Your writing will not get any better by not writing, that is for sure.
I’ve posted a blog entry 6 days in a row now, and have one in the can, and another one started. So thanks, Neil. For being my electronic friend and inspiration; for filling the empty hours and giving me hope for future hours filled with interesting projects.