(insert pithy rejoinder here)

Close Encounter – Neil Gaiman

2013-07-15 20.38.53I’ll admit that it’s been a while since I’ve visited blogworld, but this time I have a good reason:

I met Neil Gaiman.

That’s right; I met honest to goodness Neil Gaiman at a book signing for his latest creation:

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE

I, along with about 100 other lucky individuals, sat enraptured for two hours listening to him speak about his new book and his old books and what it means to be a writer. I gladly waited another three hours in line just to have him sign my copy of American Gods- three hours I spent rehearsing what it was I would say to him when I finally, after twenty years of fandom so intense it is almost embarrassing, had the chance. Here’s how it went:

NEIL: [reading the post-it with my name on it stuck to my book] “So you are H.E. Ellis, then?”

ME: “Yes.”

[Neil begins to sign book. Silence ensues]

NEIL: “It is wonderful to see people using initials again.”

ME: “Yes.”

[Neil hands me my book]

NEIL: “There you are.”

ME: “Thank you.”

[I turn and walk away]

I am sure there was drool involved, not to mention I’d been sweating inside a church for five hours and probably smelled like Texas roadkill.

Even if he were offended, I am sure he would never say. Neil Gaiman is without a doubt the most soft-spoken and humble celebrity I have ever encountered. This man makes himself available to those who come out to see him (those who don’t become catatonic at the sight of him anyway) and never behaves like the diva he has earned the right to be. I harbor no delusions that my writing will ever receive the acclaim his has, but I will tell you with certainty that I will do my best to, “Make good art,” simply because I was blessed with the opportunity to receive his advice.

Return tomorrow for a blog post about what I did the NEXT day. Until then, MAKE GOOD ART.

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24 responses

  1. I couldn’t imagine Neil would be anything less!

    (Neverwhere is one of my favorite books.)

    Like

    July 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    • It’s one of mine, too! I have an entire desk shelf dedicated to his books. I don’t have a shelf for my own stuff, that’s how big a fan I am. Or loser, I haven’t decided which.

      Like

      July 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm

  2. The Elite of Just Alright

    So fucking jealous here. American Gods was a goddamn masterpiece.

    Like

    July 20, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    • I absolutely agree. Shadow is my favorite literary character of all time. Every time I read it, it reads like a different book.

      Like

      July 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      • The Elite of Just Alright

        I’m new to Gaiman but I already want to meet him.

        Like

        July 21, 2013 at 4:24 pm

        • Experiencing one of his lectures or readings in person is like watching a very sedate Monty Python skit. He has impeccable comic timing.

          Like

          July 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm

          • The Elite of Just Alright

            I need to go in person to one of his lectures. Then convince him to have lunch with me.

            Like

            July 21, 2013 at 5:32 pm

            • When you do, tell him I said, “Hey,” and then give him one of MY books. Yeah, I’m a Pissah.

              Like

              July 21, 2013 at 5:46 pm

              • The Elite of Just Alright

                I’ll give him one of *my* books thank you very much! >;D

                Like

                July 21, 2013 at 9:58 pm

  3. That is so cool… I have no idea who that is…

    Like

    July 20, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    • Please, for the love of all that is holy, say you are joking.

      Like

      July 21, 2013 at 9:03 am

      • No… I really don’t… I hate to disappoint you…

        Like

        July 21, 2013 at 10:50 am

        • That’s alright. I can remedy this with two words:
          GOOD OMENS

          Like

          July 21, 2013 at 11:23 am

          • I am hooked on Harry Turtledove right now…

            Like

            July 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

            • Good choice! I’ve got THE GUNS OF THE SOUTH on my list of “to reads” this summer.

              Like

              July 21, 2013 at 11:39 am

              • I have read a lot of his books… he writes fast.

                Like

                July 21, 2013 at 11:50 am

                • That he does. Maybe as fast as Stephen King. I tell you who doesn’t write fast- me. I need to get my fingers in gear and get to typing already.

                  Like

                  July 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm

  4. Ok, I’ll be the one to ask the question everyone is thinking or maybe just me – what were you rehearsing for three hours as you stood in line? (I completely understand being nearly mute in the presence of a literary master.)

    Like

    July 21, 2013 at 10:40 am

    • I had this idea that I would walk up to him with two books; my AMERICAN GODS book which I would have him sign specifically to me, and a copy of his new book, THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE for him to sign for someone else. In order to expedite the signing process, the organizers of the event handed out post-it notes to write down your name to then place inside the book. That way, all Neil had to do was read your note and then sign the book in order to keep the line moving. My idea was to write, “FOR NEIL GAIMAN,” on the note I placed inside his new book.

      I imagined him opening the book, reading his own name, and looking puzzled. I pictured him signing the book just as I had written in the note, and handing it back to me, still confused. At that moment I would slowly hand the book back to him and say, “Here. This is for you.” I don’t think anyone has ever given him an autographed copy of his own book before. I was convinced he would remember me because of this idea.

      Yeah, I chickened out. That, and I didn’t want to part with a signed copy of a Neil Gaiman book- even if it was going to Neil himself.

      Like

      July 21, 2013 at 11:35 am

  5. Pingback: ConnectiCon! | H.E. ELLIS

  6. How could I not love an author with that last name? It is amazing to find a writer who writes spectacularly in every genre he approaches. What a great treat it must of been to have contact with him. Congratulations on getting to satisfy your hero worship.

    Like

    July 22, 2013 at 12:44 am

    • Thanks! My celebrity trifecta of worship consists of Literary hero Neil Gaiman, Stage and film hero Tim Curry, and Musical hero Freddie Mercury. Sadly, I’ll never get to meet Freddie, but I did meet Neil. Once I meet Tim I’ll be all set.

      Hmm…what is it with me and wild-haired Brits, I wonder?

      Like

      July 22, 2013 at 11:11 am

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