Neil Gaiman and Me
I am still trying to remember how to do that breathing thing, so hopefully this at least relatively coherent. I'm also more than a bit lightheaded so if I pass out halfway through writing it, it isn't lack of sleep but lack of that much needed thing called oxygen.
Anyone who knows me very well has heard for the last oh month or so about how excited I have been over the fact that my husband got tickets to see Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer with the emphasis (in my mind at least) on Neil Gaiman. I love Amanda Palmer I do, she's wonderful but well Neil is my idol. He is a genius that is above all other writers in my mind. Even Terry Pratchett comes second in my mind. I am, myself, a writer so I suppose it's only natural to be in awe of a writer who is unquestionably a genius. I could list for you a million reasons why he is the most amazing writer in the world but if you read his books you already know all of those reasons and if you don't well you should just read his books and you'll understand.
In 2000 my husband introduced me to this wonderful book called Neverwhere and within those pages were the most amazing characters in the most amazing world that seemed to me to be beyond the typical fantasy or science fiction that I knew. I was absolutely fascinated and have been ever since. There is not even single character in a single book written by him that I do absolutely love. I love them because they are exactly what they should be, exactly what they need to be, and exactly what no one would have ever thought of.
When Coraline came out we were living in Maine, us and our infant daughter, and we were beyond broke really. One day my husband comes home and tells me that we need to go to Augusta for a programming book ( Zope Web Application Construction which is in a landfill some where now). I said fine, but that if we were going then I wanted to go out to eat because we hadn't gotten groceries and as a result I hadn't eaten all day. Which is a good thing because it meant that I was extremely distracted, although that's not particularly far from the norm.
So we go and he goes into Borders while I stay in the car because my getting out means getting our baby girl out in the cold and that seemed a bit silly when he could just run in and get the book. He comes back out, he gets in the car, and then he stops and he just kind of looks frustrated for a seconds. At this point in our relationship I have come to understand that this particularly expression is generally related to him having realized a problem and he is trying to work through it in his head. I ask him what's wrong. (I believe I was quietly hoping he would forget whatever it was because I was starving and if he forgot it then we could just go get food, but I was also a good girlfriend and I didn't actually voice that thought. Things might have turned out a bit differently if I had.) Scott tells me that he had this brilliant idea and that he needs a pen so that he can write it down and we start looking but unfortunately there is not a single pen to be had in truck. I suggest that he just tell me and I will remember whatever it is for him because I have a better memory than he does and I've done that for him before. He says no he has to draw it out.
Instead of going all the way in to Borders and either borrowing or buying a pen he decides to drive to a convenience store. He goes in and I stay in the car with the baby again. The Borders bag is there and I'm bored and trying desperately not to focus on the fact that I am absolutely starving so I reach in and pull the big fat (not to mention completely uninteresting to me) ZOPE book out and start thumbing through it.
A guy and a girl come out of the convenience store giggling and laughing insanely. They look directly at me and I'm like "What?" They get in their car and leave and I'm just sitting there thinking "What the hell was that about?"
Scott comes out sees me, sees the book, and ask me something about the bag (I think he asked if I'd looked in it) and I'm like 'Huh?' I offer him the book and he says that no it's fine because he has a second one and I keep reading. He takes the book out (a much smaller book not that I think I noticed) and starts writing inside the cover. Then he hands it to me and I actually started to put it back into the bag not even looking at it and he prods me to look inside it and that's when I realize 'oh it's not a programming book' it's Neil Gaiman's new book Coraline which I didn't have and which we had been too poor to get up until that paycheck. So my first thought is "Yea he got me a book!" Which is in and of itself completely sweet and then I opened it.
Inside he'd written
You've given me the happiest two years of my life -
Will you marry me?
I was speechless. I didn't say 'Yes' like a normal person and like everyone knows you're supposed to I said "Of course" and it was barely above a whisper. Well 'Of course' is really more appropriate anyway because how could I possibly say anything else to the man who had just proposed to me using a book. One by my favorite author no less. It's obvious.
So well for our anniversary this year he bought us tickets to see Neil Gaiman (though not on our anniversary since they weren't here then, but still for it) and then he ended up giving his ticket to my friend Sarah who really wanted desperately to see Amanda Palmer.
When I was down in San Francisco two weeks ago I called my stepdad and asked him if he would please go through our boxes which are at his house because Coraline was in there (sadly a lot of our books are sadly stuck in KS from when we moved) and I wanted to bring it with me. He did, even though I didn't know exactly which box I had put it in, and he found it and he sent it.
So tonight was the show/concert. It was amazing beyond words. It was funny and extremely cute. They are truly one of those couples that clearly the fates decided needed each other. My friend Sarah and I have decided that Amanda Palmer is what you would have if Delirium and Death had a child and therefore she is undeniably perfect for him.
I think my favorite moment was when they blinded folded him and then she came out and surprised him (for his Birthday which is tomorrow for those who don't know) with a song and dance with dancing girls and it was all very Guys and Dolls and hilarious and perfect and sweet.
I also loved listening to them read poetry to each other and him read poetry and him read the short story and well okay everything. There isn't a moment from the show doesn't belong on a list of favorite moments for one reason or another.
So we head out and I had my book to have him sign and then I decided 'oh I should buy something too cuz I should' and so I went to stand in line to buy a picture of the two of them. Then we found out that they weren't going to be signing autographs tonight. I was EXTREMELY disappointed. At first I was okay, but I was kind of like "I kind of want to cry." We get up to the counter to buy stuff and I buy my picture and I asked just to make sure and the guy behind the counter said that he'd only heard that about two minutes ago and he told us to make sure we should go ask the lady standing over there. He pointed over towards the door an the table.
I was like... "Oh..." *sniffle* and so I'm standing there trying not to burst into tears of disappointment because that's absolutely childish and silly and well makes you look like a crazy fangirl.
And then Sarah goes "Aw, you really are going to cry."
So of course that's the switch and I start sniffling and crying because I had gotten my silly little hopes up and I've realize that no I'm not going to get to meet him and have him sign my book.
Sarah and I are like "Well maybe at the thing on Friday..." To which she promised to buy me tickets so that we could try to get it signed then.
I continued to wipe my tears and feel silly even as we walk over and ask the sweet ladies handling the door stuff and the roped off area. They tell us that no he's really not coming out. Which made me cry more because I'm silly like that. I turn away so they won't see me crying like I'm five because I really don't want the poor people who have no control over things like that feel bad.
Sarah looks at me and then turns and tells them that my husband proposed to me with Neil's book and ask them if there was anyway they could go back and ask and double check if maybe he was going to or would.
The sweet lady who's name I did not catch (although I got a picture of her so that I can say and this is the person who did me the huge favor) she comes over ask me for the book and goes backstage and ask him to sign it for me. Then she comes back and ask Sarah and I to come with her.
She takes us to the stage and there he is and he has my book and that of course made me cry all over again which in turn made me feel even more ridiculously foolish. I got a hug from my idol while people with a video camera are taping the whole thing and he got my name and autographed my book and it has a mouse in it that he drew and it's beyond amazing.