message from Neil

As I begin day 1 of my own “ice bucket challenge” (details to follow in a future post when it’s not shabbat)

I completed my morning rituals and was brewing spiced coffee, my brain already on the way into writing time,
when a very clear voice popped into my head without so much as knocking or announcing his presence with a polite clearing of the throat- stopping me mid-motion with his impertinence, his tone unmistakable, nagging me, or perhaps cheering me on in his own way- I tell you, his words popped straight into my head from seven years ago, clear and crisply annoying as the day I read them.


silly 60-second illustration of my Ghost this morning. altered (fixed) with iPhone app to make it look a bit more interesting –

neil gaiman wrote to me once. I was working on a novel at the time.  I buried the novel so quickly and so deeply after receiving this message, I completely forgot its existence until this morning.  I was working on the novel in semi-public fashion, on “live journal.” He stumbled across  it and wrote to me. I didn’t know these things could happen.

I guess people’s favorite, morris-dancing-on-a-once-gilded-and-now-blackened-sooty-pedestal, ridiculously hero-worshipped writers
read things on the internet too. I would have thought him above such time-wasting behavior in which we lowly humans indulge. In my head, he was off brooding on ragged coastlines in solitude, fermenting new and rib-breaking, lung-squeezing, heart-shredding genius in that maddeningly beautiful brain of his.

the message triggered me into anger, and i buried it along with the novel, almost made a resolution to stop reading his books (that didn’t happen. i am not that stupid even in my most volatile, abandon-y, teenager moments) and actually completely forgot about it until today.

today, seven years later, his voice popped into my head (his deep voice that has a hint of nasal kazoo-ness about it, which is oddly beautiful and also oddly professor Snape-like,)


“I shouldn’t worry about it.”
at the time, the response in my head was, Of course YOU wouldn’t worry about it, Neil – you are Neil Gaiman, damn you.”
I will not quote any more of the message but that is the important bit-
the part that comes back to my head and resonates differently.
Like all his writing the entire message is so very simple and cuts right to the bone.

I shouldn’t worry about it.

Of course. Of course.


2 thoughts on “message from Neil

  1. Great post, Rivkah! I haven’t read any of his work, but I’ve heard his name whispered in hushed and reverent tones. How amazing that he would just stumble upon your work like that, and take the time to comment. And how remarkable that one stray comment can completely shut down a creative process. Words are so powerful. I love that this came to you again in a time when you’re ready to hear it. Timing is indeed everything.


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