First, hello and welcome new followers! I’m glad to have you here.
Now on to what happened last night when Neil Gaiman came to Saratoga Springs, NY to talk about and sign his newest book The Ocean at the End of the Lane (buy local). Several of us headed up to Saratoga for the event and I won’t lie we were bouncing out of our skin. Well, fine it was really just two of the five of us (fine one was me).
Upon entering the room where we would hear Mr. Gaiman speak we were handed a copy of the book with a little bookmark with a letter on it. This letter would dictate how screwed you were in the signing line. We had “E”, K & D had “C”, and MommaT, who purchased her ticket after us landed “A”! I did try to snag her bookmark once or twice. The show began a bit late as these things do, but we managed to entertain ourselves while we waited.
I should mention I brought my ukelele, Islington, I figured it would be COOL if he could sign it. Everyone figured I didn’t have a chance. But you can’t blame a gal for trying, right? Finally the magic moment arrived! The man was there not 15 feet from where we were sitting. He was speaking to an intimate group of 1,500!! I was certain he would need a stand in to sign all the books.
It was lovely, he chatted of course about his book. Which I can’t wait to read, I’ve heard amazing things so far. He also made mention of his childhood where he recalled those times when he was forced to clear his plate because there were “starving children in China”. His solution, mail them his food. Sound familiar? It should for my generation there were “starving children in Ethiopia”. It would seem some things never change.
There was also the magical moment where he told us a vulgar joke where the key word rhymed with duck. It was funny to hear him tell it as though he was the boy who had told him the joke oh so many years ago! Mr. Gaiman really is a treasure to hear speak. He also read from his new book and a children’s book due in the Fall.
We were even treated to a Q & A session (of three questions). I only recall two of them.
Q: “Will you still write when you are very, very, very old?”
A: “I am very, very, very old! But really, yes I hope so.”
Q: “How many secrets can you keep in your hair?”
A: “All of them!”
Once the session was over we began the wait for our letter to be called. When our friends in “C” were called, well we figured we were never getting out of there. Until the magic moment when friends of D and K left them with their “C” card!! We – well I was off and running into the line! Turns out I should not have been in a huge hurry as it took two hours to get to the holy grail of Neil Gaiman.
Side note I had never read any of his stuff until my Hubbins introduced me to it. But I had been a HUGE Amanda Palmer fan for years. So when they married I told Hubbins your author married my rock star. He tried to tell me it was the other way around. Either way I’m glad he gave me American Gods to read. I’ve loved everything I’ve read of his since then.
Anyway where was I. Right…in line! Finally, there we were and there he was. But we all had our shit together. This came in handy. Our books were set out on the table to make it easier to sign them. Then an idea hit me…open the ukelele case, maybe he WOULD sign it. I asked the woman taking the books what she thought and she suggested I go for it. Then it happened…my book was signed and Islington was next. And Neil Gaiman announced he needed a break to the loo.
But he told us to wait where we were (NO problem). We were also instructed that it was our job to quell the riot that might occur when he took this break. None of us were worried. In fact we took the opportunity to lose our shit. His crappy Lipton tea was photographed. So was his empty chair. (We may have problems…)
Lucky we saw him returning and composed our shit quickly. As I still needed to see if he’d sign my ukelele. He asked us if there were riots. But K assured him that she did a little dance to prevent this from happening. Mr. Gaiman responded with a fist pump and “Yes!” I took this little break to him an unopened bag of Weeping Angel tea (created for Doctor Who fans) due to the crap tea they gave him. He took it and smiled.
I then told him the story…this was Islington my favorite character in his book (Neverwhere) and his lovely wife Amanda had been who inspired me to give the ukelele a go. I pointed out where he could sign it and instead he PICKED IT UP in order to sign it. Mr. Gaiman asked if I wanted him to make it out to Islington or to me? My response? I’ll leave it up to you, as I may have to pass out! (I could not believe this was happening) He chuckled as he signed it and chuckled a little more when I told him I thought he’d tell me to piss off and go to one of Amanda’s shows to have her sign it.
Hubbins got the whole thing on video and once he gives it to me I will post it for all to hear/see. Actually a few people caught it on video. After he was finished he showed it to me and asked if what he’d done was alright. I was damn near speechless…but I managed to tell him it was perfect. So perfect that after I thanked him I damn near forgot my signed book! Smooth. We all thanked him and told him he had MADE OUR NIGHT.
Taking our leave we tried not to skip and freak out more. As I was walking out with Islington not fully in his case people who had poked fun at me earlier were now in awe. I was grinning like a loon and could have cared less.
I’m still trying to come down from cloud 9. But then a few other things happened….this last night…
Then today I realized I may not have told him what was in the tea….what if he was allergic? What if I accidentally killed him?
My friends think I’ve arrived. I’d like to think I’m on the right road. Last night was the most amazing night I have ever had in a long time. I am now inspired to write my little heart out and play Islington until my fingers bleed. As you can tell from my crazy fangirling. But I don’t care this memory will last a lifetime and I will enjoy every moment of joy it brings me!
Many thanks to Neil Gaiman for coming to our little neck of the woods in Saratoga, NY and for signing our books (and Islington). Most of all my thanks to him for sharing himself with us.
*Special thanks to K and D for the photos!! You guys rock!”