Friday, February 5, 2010

Neil Gaiman and the Best Voice

I bought my tickets a few days after they went on sale. I mean, let's face it. In the writing world, Neil Gaiman is pretty much a rock star. And not just because of his books. He's made movies, written music, he's a prolific blogger and Twitterer -- the man's all over the place.

"I have planned nothing, so nothing can go wrong." We laughed at his first words and pretty much spent the rest of the evening enjoying his wit. I was looking forward to hearing about writing process and stories behind the story and he did offer some of that. But truly, he could have read us his grocery list and most of the people in that auditorium would have left happy.

He talked about finding the best voice, the best way to tell a story. He recalled taking a bubble bath at midnight in a suite that someone else was paying for and being awakened hours later by a phone call to tell him he'd won the Newberry. He told us about the joy of recording audiobooks, knowing "there will always come a point where you start cussing the idiot who wrote the book." He explained why he enjoys book signings: "The numbers turn back into people."

But mostly he read in his mesmerizing voice, stories that haven't been released yet, one that he called "a bit poemy around the edges." And he answered questions.

Someone asked him if he received a lot of criticism after winning the Newberry for opening a book for children with a murder. "No," he said. "Because I was diabolically clever about it. Words like murder, blood and kill are never mentioned. So if any vicious murders happened...you did them."

Another person asked him if he felt limited when he created screenplays based on his books. "Every mode has its limitations. But I find that the limitations are normally where the most interesting things occur."

And when a question came up from a person who is working on a PhD in Superherology, he just smiled. "I love living in a world where someone can get a degree in Superherology."

I couldn't agree more.


19 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I would love to hear Neil talk. I bet it was awesome. Some people are just like that.

But the lady playing the piano - needed some serious eyebrow help. :)

Kelly said...

Oooh, lucky girl to hear him speak! He's so terribly clever and talented!

storyqueen said...

So awesome that you got to go. He's the reason I read blogs anyway. I never would have known about them but for his.

Beth Kephart said...

Happy for you, that you were able to go and see him!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Glad you had the opportunity to hear him speak!

Vivian said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. What an incredible man! He is absolutely mesmerizing when he reads his work.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

* big sigh * After reading it for the third time, I think I should probably get around to leaving my comment. Is it terrible that I'm drooling just from reading this post?! He could read me his grocery list anytime he wanted. I love Neil Gaiman, Sherrie, and I loved this post! :-)

beth said...

AH!! I wish I could have gone. He sounds amazing.

Lori W. said...

Oh, I should have called in sick to go. I really should have. I am glad you got to hear him, though, and thanks for reporting back.

Julie Dao said...

Lucky! I wish I could have been there to hear him talk. He seems like such a down-to-earth guy despite all his success.

Lady Glamis said...

How great to go to that! So great. Thank you for sharing this with us, Sherrie!

Susan R. Mills said...

You are so lucky. Thanks for sharing some of his insight with us.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

You lucky thing, you! I adore the man, and really love to listen to the audiobooks he's recorded.

"I Google You" cracked me up!
And it reminded me of the six-word memoir my daughter wrote that was published in Smith Magazine's Love & Heartbreak anthology. Her's was:
I searched him on Google. Nothing.

Dawn Simon said...

I'd love to hear Neil Gaiman speak! Thanks for sharing with us. :)

Lisa and Laura said...

Wow, he sounds amazing. I'd love to hear him speak someday!

T. Anne said...

You are so blessed!!! How awesome is that, to see Neil??? You're right, he is so that rock star of literature right now. I love his tweets! Sounds like he was mesmerizing. Glad you had a good time Sherrie. Happy early valentines day!

C.R. Evers said...

I'd love to hear Neil speak! Wowza! ~sigh~ I'm swooning.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Cool stuff!

I Google you. Hah! Love it.

a. fortis said...

Sounds fantastic! I'm so jealous that he made a SoCal stop but didn't come up here. :(

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