Last night, Cam and I attended a much-anticipated event in our small college town. As part of a cultural enhancement series, Neil Gaiman spoke at the local college despite his seemingly hectic schedule.
I’ve been anticipating this event for about a month, and when we showed up two hours early to the auditorium, the stairs leading to the front doors were an indicator that my hometown is also home to a large Gaiman following. I heard from another Gamain fan that some of them had been sitting on the steps all afternoon, waiting for the doors to open.
Before even showing up, Cam and I decided not to buy any books. Before the doors opened, we made our way over to the door designated for those who want to purchase signed books. After all, I just got a part time job in order to pay off a few things and save for the future geek wedding. Fortunately, the job is in a book store that was set up to sell Gaiman’s pre-signed books at the event. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my employee discount purposefully to avoid that temptation. Lesson learned. Removing the incentives may not prevent me from changing my mind at the last minute. We left with The Sleeper and the Spindle and an American Gods paperback.
The event definitely exceeded our expectations. He read an excerpt from his new collection of short stories, Trigger Warning. The story he chose was a prime example of his ability to reinvent old fables or myths. The story featured a Genie just released from his bottle. If you haven’t read it yet, it is quite delightful. Hearing Gaiman read it enthusiastically brought it to life.
He also spoke about some of the meaningful work he has recently been doing to raise awareness of refugee crises, and recalled experiences about visiting Syrian refugees in Jordan. This is an issue that is certainly close to my own heart, having spent time with refugees while living in Africa. I taught literacy to a group of women living in Zambia, who fled neighboring Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Before that, I gardened and planted trees with Mauritanian refugees who returned home after a decade living across the border in Senegal.
The night ended with questioned submitted from the audience. The one that is ALWAYS asked at these types of events is “What advice do you have for aspiring writers?” His answer was simple and typical. 1.) Write. 2.) Finish 3.) Show it to people. My Fiction Friday segment seems to be collecting cobwebs these days, so as ordered by an idol, I intend to pick it back up again.
In the meantime, I need to decide which to read first, the new The Sleeper and the Spindle signed copy, or American Gods signed paperback.