Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Neil Gaiman at Brooklyn Academy of Music

 "Why are we here? Obviously it's to suffer and die and create art." Neil Gaiman, 2010.

Last Tuesday, Neil Gaiman's new novel "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" hit bookstores. I was fortunate enough to be at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for a live reading, followed by a Q&A with the author.

If I could go back in time and tell my wee thirteen-year-old Big Island Rachel self that she would live to see her favorite author Neil Gaiman speak not just once, but twice, I'd slap myself at the decadence of the suggestion.
And then engage in a fight to the death, because I'd watched enough scifi at 13 to know that future selves are almost always Terminators.

Regular readers remember that I saw Gaiman speak at the New Yorker Festival in 2010, which is where I got that great quote above. The format of this event was a little different. Since he was launching a book instead of just rambling on (awesomely) about things that interested him, the setting was more formal and structured. The house lights were turned off like it was a proper performance, the Q&A session was much shorter, and at the end, instead of just coming down off the stage directly into the swirling crowd of his fans, he was shunted off to a little room to sign book after book for a massive line of people that went out the door of BAM, down the front steps, and wrapped around the outside of the building.

I didn't end up staying in that massive line to get my book signed. R and I decided by 9:45 that getting up for work the next morning was more important than standing in the rain for another three hours to get three seconds of face time with the author, so we just got copies of the pre-signed books and went home. Sometimes being a grown-ass woman means you have to sacrifice your nerd-cred for your career.
My boss told me I can't wear my Catwoman outfit to the office anymore. Sorry, Past Self.
We were both kind of bummed that we couldn't stay to meet Gaiman. R even had a hand-made mask she was going to give him, because Gaiman accepts tributes from fans like he's Lord of the Nerd-Manor, and I was going to take a picture of him wearing the mask to put on tumblr so everyone would be jealous. Oh, such plans we had!

But I got to see my favorite author read from his new book, talk about writing his new book, and tell a story about a teacup in the town of Gaiman, Argentina. Nothing about the experience was spoiled because I didn't actually get within spitting distance of the poor guy, who had already done a week's worth of publicity in England before his appearance at BAM and was leaving at 4AM the next morning for the American book tour.

Besides, as Peter Aguero said when he introduced Gaiman that night, "He's just a dude who wrote a book about sand."

Speaking of which, I'm reviewing "The Sandman" series over at Big Island Rachel's Books. You can read along with me!

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