Yeah this isn’t a review of a book. This is me, your friendlyfilmfan who reads, encouraging you to go to book signings, see your favourite authors talk, and to try and get a hug if you can.
Yesterday I spent the day with Neil Gaiman. We laughed at the seaside as he unveiled the new bus lane sign near Canoe Lake in Southsea. We then spent an evening talking books and hugging.
That may be a fantasy version of what happened last night.
But that picture speaks for itself.
Neil Gaiman was in Portsmouth to speak at the Guildhall about a variety of things, but mostly in promotion of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, his latest novel for grown ups.
I knew Gaiman was an inspiring guy because why else would so many people want to read his books or be following him on various social media sites? But in the flesh he is eloquent, funny, intelligent, and a secure enough person to interrupt the slightly naff mediator and make sure things are run in the order he wants. He is also a wonderful storyteller, which is why in October I already have my ticket to watch him read ‘Fortunately the Milk’ in London.
Actually face to face meeting he is a machine of book signing, but I managed to make him pause with a gift I got my mother (who is an artist) to sketch a picture of Gaiman’s beloved Cabal. When I asked Mum to do this she put her internet skills to the test and googled him, finding Neil’s blog and the final post he wrote about his much missed pet. This all led her to (finally) read a Gaiman book, Neverwhere, and she has decided he is a fantastic author too.
I felt like the gift moved him, I hope he keeps it. It actually hit my Mum this morning when I was retelling the smile and the hug and kiss I got for the gift that someone famous has her artwork. Pretty cool, eh?
Just wrapping up this love-fest I want to explain why Neil Gaiman is one of my heroes. I’m a librarian and Neil constantly sticks up for my profession and the encouragement of reading in any way possible. He has this ability to write violence so that my squeamish self can take it, but also adds beauty to horrific situations whilst not obscuring the horror. If that makes any sense.
He writes for all ages, but it doesn’t mean because the book is for children an adult can’t find it scary (Coraline is a prime example of this).
It was a genuine pleasure to meet him, if that is the only time I’m glad I got him a gift that resulted in a hug and kiss. I’m pretty much not going to stop smiling at the memory.