Sunday, 11 March 2012

Blog - "Neil Gaiman"

One of the perils of being a writer is that you lose pretty much all interest in being the kind of avid reader you used to be. In fact, working with words so often, you start to despise them more than anything in the world. Even now, doing it the lazy way in a Notepad file on my laptop, I can feel the bile rising in the back of my throat. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it does present you with something of a major disappointment as time goes by. I recently re-purchased a Robin Hobb trilogy after my original copies vanished to Mexico with girlie one, and I simply haven't gotten around to picking them up yet.

One writer for which I'm attempting to reverse this lamentable situation is Neil Gaiman, under the prompting of numerous brain cells; some of which are my own.

Neil (why bother with formalities) first came to my attention as a person of interest within the realms of Doctor Who, where his episode, featuring the TARDIS essence being transferred into a living being, made mockery of Moffat's entire series, and did so with an almost casual fatalistic streak. The episode was impressive, though it could certainly have been acted better in whatever vocal coaching was given to the Doctor's nemesis during some of the scenes. As I was already interested, I decided to be slightly more interested, and thus dug a little deeper.

The Doctor Who Confidential episode provided me with what I wanted. In this, Neil read his own work, exploring the set and, like the storyteller he evidently wished to display himself as, we were treated to his own vision of the episode. I well recall reviewing the episode at the time and giving it a thoroughly glowing report, even before I knew anything of the artist himself.

I made a point of watching the film 'Stardust' recently, with no idea that it was based on a Neil Gaiman novel. Admittedly, the recurrent 'inanimate object into person' theme raised a suspicion, but only the one. I found it thoroughly enjoyable, except, of course, the sections wherein Ricky Gervais opened his mouth. Consuming the special features, as I like to do, I then started to pick up on mentions of the writer. I enjoyed most hearing about the differences he didn't approve of.

I've been given a Neil Gaiman book called Neverwhere to indulge in. Here, of course, we encounter the problem. When I have time to read, reading is never in the forefront of my mind. With a film, I'm sitting down after work, I can write while I'm doing it, and often do so. With a book - yes, I'm doing research, but my hands get bored just holding said book open.

The other thing I admire about Neil is that he still connects with the fans. That's important. He recently earned me, simply by virtue of being fellow writer, a free dinner on February 29th, in which I could actually be a writer for once by drifting off, telling tall tales, and pulling out a notepad every now and then to jot something down. Neil Gaiman feeds the poor. What's not to love?

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