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.
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.