Fiddler's Green asked me to write something for their program book about Neil, so I decided to write about the first time we met. I thought, since lots of you are visiting from his journal, you might enjoy it. It's too long for one post, so I'll start now, and finish it up in the next, or maybe three.
So, get comfy, I'm gonna tell you a story.
It was the last couple of hours of a convention somewhere, many years ago. I was in the art show, packing sculpture and eyeing my suitcase, which was bound to explode at any given second. It was crammed with my stuff, new books and a dozen little gifts. The first one hooks you, you know. You get a souvenir for Pearl-- you get one for Tulula.. I decided to leave them for the art staff. I’d argued rather fiercely to get space here, by rows of panels with paintings, instead of back there, between a service door and waste can, and eventually, they’d been reasonable.
A staffer rustled by (she was wearing taffeta) and rapped me sharply on the shoulder. Really it was more like one of those knuckle digs Mom did in church.
She said, importantly, "Neil Gaiman is looking for you." She neither glanced my way nor broke stride.
You must understand, I had no internet connection, a toddler, a job writing cryo/bio protocol and sculpted instead of sleeping. Reading was from a backlog of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly.
Okay, this Neil Gaiman fellow sounded important. I paused. But not important enough for Ms. Taffeta to stop, or even slow down, really. I went back to packing.
Just then, a collector brought me a banquet ticket. I groaned inwardly, with a fair idea of how crumpled the one dress in my suitcase was and I had a long flight ahead, but I was more hungry than annoyed, and grateful for the ticket.
I came out of the restroom trying to smooth my skirt with my hands. A fellow artist said, "Neil Gaiman is looking for you."
As I extracted shoes from the exploded contents of my suitcase, someone new gave me a little shove..
" Neil Gaiman is looking for you!" She went by so fast there was Doppler effect . I was getting really annoyed now—she’d made me lose my balance and rock backwards, landing in a very undignified position on my butt.
I thought, sort of aloud, "I am never going to get all that shit back in there."
I said, fairly aloud, "Who the fuck is Neil Gaiman? "
"Hello," said a voice, directly behind me. " I’m Neil Gaiman." He offered his hand and with extreme grace, pretended he hadn’t heard me.
That's it for today. I must get into the studio and make some art, or else. Eat your Wheaties, keep your eye to the sky and your ear to the ground...
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