29 May 2016

Sound advice from someone who's been a HUGE influence on me.....

As those of you who know me know, I'm a huge, HUGE fan of Mr Neil Gaiman, and his lovely and amazing wife, Amanda Palmer.

Now, I'm not really one to be too bothered by my nocturnal emissions, as dreams are just something that happens.  We don't know why, nor do we know where they come from.  We just know that it's our brain's way of...... processing things, I guess?

Well, one night a few weeks ago, I was laying in bed, sleeping, comfy, minding my own business, and I had what started out to be a really terrible nightmare, but turned out to be one of the most profound experiences I've ever been fortunate enough to have.

From here on out, when describing a dream, I will use italics.  When speaking about a random thought I have, I'll just use normal text.

The dream started out I was sitting in some kind of playhouse, about to watch a play.  The room was pretty elaborate, a huge stage, old gothic style decorum everywhere, even the seats for the audience were pretty old fashioned with red cushions, but a deep, rich red that looked almost liquid.

I remember sitting there looking around, taking in my surroundings, but I was in my typical jeans and tee shirt.  Everyone else around me (there were about twenty or thirty other people in the audience, rather small group) were dressed rather on the formal side, making me feel even MORE out of place.

The lights go dim, the curtain comes up, and these horrible creatures start charging out onto the stage, down from the stage and at us.  I'm consciously aware that I NEED to get out of there YESTERDAY, but I am struggling to get up and find myself rather paralyzed and unable to move.  Just as this gnarly looking character is about to lunge at me, I manage to get out of my seat and get away.  I go for the door, and I find myself outside of the Ohio Reformatory up in Mansfield, Ohio.  I'm wandering the grounds, and it's like the scenery changes, and I'm at the building my family used to live in back in St Maries, Idaho when I was in High School, and I walk up this rickety-looking, but surprisingly stable staircase to a patio that has tables and chairs set up like it's the porch for a coffeehouse.  

I go to sit down, and I see not only the audience that I just left inside the playhouse, but Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman as well coming outside toward the building where I am.  Everyone ends up at whatever table and seat they can find empty, and Amanda sits down at a table next to the table where I am, and she's beaming at me.  Like, this HUGE proud smile on her face like, "You've got this, kid.  Don't stop!  You're going in the right direction!"  There was so much encouragement in her smile, and she gives me two thumbs up and nods.  

Seconds later, her husband, Neil Gaiman HIMSELF, is sitting down in the chair next to me, AT MY TABLE, and starts chatting me up like it's no big deal, like we're friends.  I'm just sitting there, hanging on every word he's saying to people passing by, just awestruck that one of the coolest writers I've EVER had the privilege to read his work, is sitting at my table wanting to talk to me.  To give me words of artistic wisdom.  He's quite friendly and polite, and I said, "Mr Gaiman, may I please have your autograph?  I've been a fan of yours for several years now, and I find your work and your wife's just brilliant.  You both are like mentors to me, even though I've never met you before this evening."  He says, "Sure!  Thanks so much for your support of our work!"  

He goes to reach for the pen and paper I'm handing him, and I glance over at Amanda who's just grinning like she's about to burst into confetti and glitter she's so excited to be amid people who genuinely like her and her husband so much, like she considers us not just fans, but friends.  I look back over to Neil, who's now bent over the paper and writing.......something.  I look down to see what he's writing, and he's not writing words, he's doodling some random lines.  He smiles and says, "Alright, there we are then!" and hands it back to me.  I'm quite confused, and I try to be as polite as I can when I say, "Mr Gaim---"  

"Please," he says, holding up a hand to cut me off, "call me Neil.  'Mr Gaiman' is too formal!"  

So, I correct myself, and I say, "Neil, I mean absolutely no disrespect, but I wanted your autograph.  What's this?"  He laughs and then gets this very intense look on his face and looks me right in the eye and says, "[my first name], you've got to think outside the box.  That's what art is.  That's what writing is.  There's no specific rhyme or reason.  The point is to have fun and MAKE.  GOOD.  ART."  I just sat there with my jaw hanging in my lap, and right as I'm about to thank him and ask if I can take my picture with him, the stinking alarm wakes me.  NOT COOL, right?!  But that dream has been at the forefront of my mind.  Not just because OMG NEIL GAIMAN AND AMANDA PALMER, but the advice that Neil felt the need to bestow upon me, a beginning author, that I have taken to heart.

One day, one day I will get to meet them.  I will get to thank them personally for all their amazing work, and for their inspiration.  For all they do to keep us in the audience clamoring for more, more, MORE.

One day, I, too, will be amidst their numbers, on the shelves of bookstores, and I, too, will have people being awestruck at meeting me, just because of some scribblings I threw on paper and sent to a publisher.

I look forward to being a member of bookstore owners' inventories....

And Neil, Amanda, if you're ever able to read this, thank you with all my heart, for what you do.  I will take your advice, and your encouragement, and I will "make.  good.  art."  :)  And I won't ever stop!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog