TagNeil Gaiman

Neil Gaimon Interview from 1993

I’ve been looking for this article for a long time. This particular quote was really important for me:

My old school got me in a few times to do “careers advice.” I was the token writer, and people would come up to me and say “How do I get to be a writer?” and I said “Well, first of all, if you can do anything else, do that. You know, there are lots of other things you can do that are an awful lot more fun, pay a lot better, will let you sleep far easier.” [laughs]

I also really like this bit:

Your fans are known as serious gift-givers. Jill Thompson says you’ve probably gotten more tapes than any writer at Musician magazine.

NEIL: Most of the tapes I’m given are terrible. You know, Scandanavian death-metal or whatever. You know: [sings in a deep, slightly American voice] “Oh, Morpheus, come down from the sky and give me good dreams CHA-DUNG CHA-DUNG CHA-DUNG” or one guy accompanies himself on a harmonium or whatever.

Well, that last one sounds interesting…

NEIL: It wasn’t. But I still play them. I had a tape given to me in San Diego a couple of years ago by somebody who said “A friend of mine is a huge Sandman fan, she’s just recorded this, she wants you to have it, she talks about you on one of the songs.” About three weeks later I got around to playing it, and it was terrific. Absolutely stunning. There was an address on it, and I wrote to her and said, “I think it’s wonderful, and thank you very much for mentioning me on the song,” and that was Tori Amos, and that was the tape that later became a number of tracks on Little Earthquakes.

Full Story: Neil Gaiman Interview, Hero Illustrated #4 (October 1993)

I’d give that same advice to anyone else considering a career in writing. I tried to find something else I could do for living, but I was never able to.

I thought I remembered a part with him talking about deciding to become a journalist, but I guess it was a different interview from around the same time. I did find this interview with him telling more or less the same story:

I’d always wanted to be a writer and I had a really bad night, the kind of long dark night of the soul, one of those nights you only get once or twice in a lifetime and I got one when I was about 20. I remember being unable to sleep and about four in the morning I keep thinking “I keep thinking I’m a writer. I like to think I could write stuff just as good as anybody else out there but I’m not really doing anything about it.” And that’s not the bad thing. What’s the bad thing is that in 50 or 60 years time I could be on my deathbed and I would say to myself, “I could’ve been a writer,” and I wouldn’t know if I was lying or not. It was the long dark night of the soul that genuinely changes everything. So I said “Okay, I’m gonna try and be a writer because even if I’m not, at least I’ll know that I’m not.” So I started writing. I wrote a children’s book, I wrote a bunch of short stories, and a lot of other stuff and sent them out to people . . .and the stories came back. Then I thought, “I’m doing this wrong. Either I’m not a very good writer (which I choose not to believe), or I’m doing this wrong. I want to understand how publishing and all that works. So I got up the next morning and said, “All right, I’m now a journalist. I’m a freelance journalist.” So I got on the phone to editors and pitched them story ideas about things I wanted to write and by the end of the day—by dint of lying cheerfully about previous experience—I now had several commissions and then had to turn them in.

FWOMP: And how did that go?

Neil Gaiman: It actually went fine although I must say as long as I had a typewriter, which was probably the next couple of years, there was a piece of paper taped to it that said, “Don’t let your mouth write no check that your tail can’t cash.” I think that’s a quote from Muddy Waters. And every now and then it would make me think, “I just got myself into a book contract. How the fuck did that happen? What do I do? I’ve never written a book and now I have a book contract.” So I’d write books. But it was good. There’s nothing for getting you good fast like having to be good fast, if that makes any sense.

Karen Berger, Comics’ Mother of “the Weird Stuff,” Is Moving On

The New York Times has a profile of Karen Berger, the editor of Vertigo Comics. Berger announced earlier this year that she is leaving Vertigo. The Times has no update on what she’s doing next.

For the roster of artists she leaves behind, Ms. Berger’s exit raises questions about the future of Vertigo and where its renegade spirit fits into an industry and a company that seem increasingly focused on superhero characters who can be spun off into movies and TV shows.

“It’s really hard to tell at this stage,” said Mr. Gaiman, a best-selling novelist and fiction writer who was scouted by Ms. Berger in the 1980s. “That was DC Comics, now we have DC Entertainment. It is a different beast, being run by different people.”

Sitting in a DC conference room a few days ago and surrounded by shelves of Vertigo titles that she published, Ms. Berger, a soft-spoken woman of 55, said she quit to pursue new challenges. “It’s time to ply my storytelling skills elsewhere,” she said. [...]

Comic sales have fallen off substantially, Mr. Morrison said, and the qualities that defined Vertigo’s titles have become widely imitated. They have “bled into the mainstream in such a way that you almost didn’t need it anymore.”

Mr. Morrison said he could still remember when his Vertigo series “Sebastian O,” about an assassin in Victorian-era England, sold about 90,000 copies of its first issue in 1993 — a modest quantity that would make it a Top 10 best seller in 2013. (DC said it doesn’t provide sales figures.)

Full Story: The New York Times: Comics’ Mother of ‘the Weird Stuff’ Is Moving On

There is no one who shaped my tastes more than Berger. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Neil Gaiman Writing Sandman Prequel

i09 reports that Neil Gaiman announced at Comic-Con that he’s writing a prequel to Sandman. J. H. Williams III of Promethea fame is set draw it. Here’s a transcript of part of Gaiman’s pre-recorded announcement:

When I finished writing The Sandman, there was one tale still untold. The story of what had happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman #1, and why he was returned from far away, exhausted beyond imagining, and dressed for war.

Full Story: io9: Neil Gaiman’s writing a prequel to Sandman in 2013

I haven’t read Sandman since I was 15 – about half my life ago. I have no idea if it’s actually good – it was the best thing I’d ever read up to that point (other than Watchmen), but I hadn’t read all that much. I think it’s time for a re-read.

Famous writers write six word stories

Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time
- Alan Moore

I’m dead. I’ve missed you. Kiss … ?
- Neil Gaiman

The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly.
- Orson Scott Card

With bloody hands, I say good-bye.
- Frank Miller

Read Them All: Wired.

Podcast round-up

Viking Youth: What the Hell Happened At Burning Man?.

R.U. Sirius Show: Neil Gaiman.

RU Sirius Show: American Hardcore Punk 1980-1986 .

NeoFiles Show #55: Alchemy.

Mirrormask: A Film by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

Mirrormask

Mirrormask was written by Neil Gaiman and directed by Dave McKean, best known for their work together on the Sandman comics. It will be released in 2005 by Jim Henson Studios and Sony Pictures.

Comic Book Resources: Putting on the Mirror Mask

(via Zenarchery)

Jorge Luis Borges’ Influence on Other Writers

Here’s a great sub-site from a Jorge Luis Borges site with analysis of Borges’ influence on numerous writers, including: Grant Morrison, William Gibson, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison, Umberto Eco and others.

Morrison: I had a dream where I was on a train going through a horrible bone-like station. The name on the platform said “Orqwith,” so I’d thought I’d use it. Also, part of this dream was that this fictitious world was infiltrating parts of itself into our world. But like you say, it’s got a lot to do with stealing work of a blind Argentinian writer.

AH: I’m afraid I stopped reading after “The Garden of Forking Paths.”

Morrison: So you haven’t finished Labyrinths?

AH: I did read ‘”Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” and the one about Don Quixote.

Morrison: I think he’s wonderful. I just have baths in this sort of thing. That was one of the things I wanted to Introduce in Doom Patrol. All those strange paradoxes and philosophical curios.

Borges as an Influence

(via the Barbelith Underground).

© 2014 Technoccult

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑