My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

The Gothic subculture is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, and looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Tim Burton, Siouxsie Sioux and Anne Rice et al.) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. Goth should not be limited by what is considered "goth", inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Neil Gaiman: Talk And Book-Signing

I met Neil Gaiman yesterday evening!

I'm the blur on the left, Neil Gaiman is the blur on the right.
I think my friend Eilidh's hands might have been shaking with excitement.
Several of my friends (mostly Goth types) went to the signing as a group as we are all fans. The talk was part of the launch of his latest book 'The Ocean At The End Of The Lane" which marks a return to writing fantasy/magical realism for adults rather than children's fantasy. The book itself is about a young boy who meets some peculiar neighbours in the aftermath of the suicide of the family lodger. The peculiar neighbours are three preternatural/supernatural women (well, two women and a girl) who very strongly resemble the Maiden, Mother, Crone archetype. A series of fantastical events intertwine with the ordinary, and altogether it is a book that is mesmerising, if rather dark at points. While clearly aimed at adults, the fantasy elements remind me of such things as The Graveyard Book and Coraline, where mundane and magical worlds collide. 

Mr. Gaiman explained about how it was written initially as simply a story for his wife, but kept growing and growing until he'd realised that it was a full novel, and that it had never initially been intended as a novel for publication. He described it as a novel written by accident. His talk was very interesting, full of insights and anecdotes, and I feel it was a privilege to hear him talk. If any of you get the chance to hear one of his book talks, go for it. 

He also read a short excerpt of the book, and I think there is nothing better, in  literary terms, than hearing an author read his own work. It was spellbinding and I didn't want him to stop! 

The most exiting thing was actually meeting him in person. We waited nearly an hour in the signing queue. He mentioned that I had clearly made an effort with my outfit and I was chuffed indeed. I can't actually remember what I said to him - it was all a starstruck daze! - but I mentioned how much I liked Silas from 'The Graveyard Book'.  Anyway, he drew a gravestone with my name on it in my copy of 'The Graveyard Book' and signed it. . After I was out of sight (and hopefully hearing), I did a gleeful little dance and squeaked with joy. 

We had waited so long in the queue that I had long since missed the last bus, and had to walk home all the way from Inverness (a long way, in the dark, in heels) and I felt like I was gliding home on a cloud of spooky happiness, signed book safely in my bag. I met a woman in the city centre, waiting for a bus, who looked vaguely Goth-ish (turned out she's not Goth, though), and vaguely familiar, and asked her if she had been to the signing - apparently she hadn't, but was quite the fan, and she was quite impressed with my signed book when I showed it to her. 

On the way home, walking through the park, I saw an owl flying around. I ended up spending about a quarter of an hour just watching this bird as it flew close with perhaps curiosity, either that or my walking through the park was disturbing tasty prey for it. It ended up perching on a fence post not too far away from me, and we watched each other for a while before leaving in opposite directions. 

8 comments:

  1. Wow, I am so jealous, I really want to meet Neil Gaiman! He is such a huge inspiration! What an awesome way to sign your book! I am glad you got to have that experience!

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    1. I was so excited when I saw the gravestone! I first came across Neil Gaiman through the Sandman comics, and then realised how many more cool projects he was involved with or wrote, so meeting him was something special. He's an inspiration to me, too - I think it's amazing how many creative projects he's done, and how he's managed to put his uniquely dark stamp on all of them.

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  2. It sounds like you had a really awesome experience! I'm simultaneously happy for you and extremely jealous.

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    1. Thank-you! He has done book signings in many places - perhaps you will get to meet him yet :)

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  3. It sounds like you had an experience worth missing the bus for. Perhaps that owl was there to reinforce your wonderfully Gothic experience.

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    1. I think I could find something Goth in the middle of the flower gardens on a bright day while wearing a pastel dress (probably a spiderweb with an uncanny resemblance to a skull or something...)

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  4. So terribly jealous! I'm almost finished Ocean at the End of the Lane, but I'm dragging it out as I don't want it to end.

    I think the owl was a very good omen. :o)

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    1. You said "good omen" and I read it as "Good Omens" which is an AWESOME book - a Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman collaboration! My two favourite authors in one book. *squees an lands on the fainting-couch*

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