neil & i answer "evening with" questions on reddit (warning: contains all sorts of things)
at 1pm est on november 19th, neil and i did a reddit AMA. the following blog contains a collection of various questions and our respective answers (neil in dark-reddit-blue and amanda in dark-reddit-orange) all organized for easy reading. they are presented, as chronicled by @indeciSEAN, in a sort of particular order (but not exactly). enjoy!!!
Hullo Reddit. We are Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. Half of us is a writer and half of us is a singer and musician. We’re married. Two years ago we went on tour for a week and recorded each night. Mostly Neil read things and Amanda sang things (but we each did the other one too). Now we’ve made the album available to the whole wide world. You can ask us anything. We might even answer. Amanda is more likely to answer the embarrassing personal questions than Neil is.
Neil wrote THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE and many other books. And Sandman.
Amanda is sometimes a Dresden Doll, but is mostly a force of nature.
Watch a little of the EVENING WITH… at http://youtu.be/yVVWWHfLhZ0
(The Amazon link for the album is http://bit.ly/Eveningwith. For Digital and other bundles, go to https://old.amandapalmer.tasty.studio/)
Question for you both: What was the hardest thing about doing this album together?
probably the night in san francicso where we wound up bickering about the set list and running order. i’d just realized that i’d left my passport back in boston because i’d forgotten i’d need it on the trip to get over the canadian border to the vancouver show. that set me on edge to begin with. then i sat down to write my set list and it finally dawned on me that i was only going to have a few shots at performing perfectly all the songs i wanted to try to squeeze onto this collection.
so that night ended up being a minor stress-fest, mostly my fault to begin with…but as in any relationship the testy feelings wound up snowballing and we bot treated each other grumpily.
that’s in the relationship department….in the practical DIY record-label given how many decisions needed to be made (about artwork, about track listing, about money, about materials, about timelines) it’s actually quite refreshing to look back and see that we barely had a single disagreement. but that’s why we did this project…we wanted it to be fun, not hard, not stressful.
aside from the togetherness… i had a generally difficult time trying to decide which tracks to pick for the SHOWS themselves, because i knew i’d be releasing those songs exclusively on this album, at least for now. songs like “dear old house”, “judy blume” and “look mummy, no hands” had never been available before. and i wanted them to have the best possible presentation when tehy made their debuts to the listener’s ears…which is impossible to control when you’re in a live setting and not a recording studio. so a lot of moments on stage i felt like i was on a fucking tightrope, since i had to absolutely nail the takes and not be as sloppy as i usually allow myself to be.
at the end of the day i’m actually REALLY proud of how all the recordings came out, mine, neil’s, and the “together” ones. when i heard the first set of recordings and calculated that we actually had a killer take of each tune, my heart soared with relief.
↳ I had it easier, because I didn’t have any real agenda on what I wanted to record or not record.
The hardest thing was listening to EVERYTHING. About 25 hours of material. And then deciding what would go on.
No, that’s not true. The hardest thing was singing in public, and listening to recordings of me singing in public. Everything else was easy compared to that.
What was the hardest part about performing An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer?
The hardest part was that both Amanda and I were used to being the Last Word when we were on stage or doing an event. Lots of people could have opinions, but at the end of the day, I’d say “Yes, I’ll do this” or “No, I don’t think so”. Which, oddly enough, was Amanda’s world too.
And now we were both trying to put a show together in which each of us felt (knew?) that we should be the one who makes the final decision. On everything. And we kept bumping into each other, and learning to give way with good grace.
Sort of like a marriage in miniature, now I come to think about it.
Do you have a favorite Evening With so far?
I loved the one in Vancouver most of all. But then, I loved almost all of them.
I’m looking forward to experiencing the Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. What am I to expect from the album?
Three disks. One of me talking. One of Amanda singing. One of us both talking and singing and other stuff too.
How often do you get a chance to collaborate on songs, stories, writing, or do you just generally draw inspiration from one another as artists?
we certainly generally draw inspiration (and love, and all that stuff) from each other, that’s the nice thing about being a couple and more or less around and supportive of each others’ work and careers.
as far as collaborating: this tour and album is probably the deepest it’ll get for now…. when we put the record together, we divided it into three discs: -the neil disc (all neil reading, with introductions) -the amanda disc (all me singing, with introductions) -and the shit we do together disc…which actually had more on it than we had anticipated and we were both pleasantly surprised. we covered the songs “jump” (me on piano and neil on vocal…a hilarious “hymn” by brit comedians peter cook and dudley moore), “psycho” (me on ukulele and neil on vocal, by leon payne), and we did some originals together that neil wrote and i played on piano: “i google you” and “the problem with saints” (which ben folds actually wrote the music for during our crazy 8 in 8 project all together)….and then there are some poems we wrote for each other, and a long q&a.
I’m excited to be coming to the Evening with Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer event on Saturday in NY. Can I bring you guys anything?
to us: you can ALWAYS bring hugs. also always nice to bring edible things/weird inedible treats to share with the rest of audience. i love when people share shit, it brings the crowd together. sometimes people share origami. or small pieces of art they’re made. go crazy.
I am super excited to see you guys on Saturday. I’m curious – will these new “Evening With…” shows be filled with different things than the album release? What’s your process like for deciding what goes into one?
There is always new stuff. That’s the fun of it.
How did you guys meet?
We were introduced over email by Jason Webley, after I said something nice about one of the songs he and Amanda did together as Evelyn Evelyn on my blog. We met because Amanda asked me to write some stories to accompany photographs of her dead, to make a book called WHO KILLED AMANDA PALMER. We met in the green room of the NYC Comic Con, and we didn’t fancy each other at all. There are photographs of us and Stan Lee together there. Amanda did not know who he was. I found this refreshing.
↳ it’s true. i was also in a relationship at the time with no interest in falling in love with neil gaiman…and i barely knew his work. we’ve looked back at the photos from that day and had a good laugh. neil looks like hell and has a black eye (his dog gave it to him…..long story) and i looked (according to neil) pudgy and mannish and absolutely “not his type”. nor was he mine.
the reason we’re convinced this relationship has legs is that we fell in love with each other’s personalities and brains and then, later, with each others bodies and faces….from a deeper place.
Long story about a dog and a black eye? This is the perfect crowd for a long story!
Here’s a photograph of me the day or so before I met her: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/04/q-was-this-face-that-launched-thousand.html
You raised enough on the kickstarter to video the shows – is a DVD going to appear?
indeed – we took some of the profit from the kickstarter and taped the last two shows. we JUST put up the first few clips:
part 1: http://youtu.be/1UK7EmzrLXQ
part 2: http://youtu.be/yVVWWHfLhZ0
and here’s us doing “makin’ whoopee”, same editing team:
Just finished reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane, thoroughly enjoyed it.
What was your largest inspiration for the story?
Missing Amanda. I wanted to write something for her, because she was making THEATRE IS EVIL in Australia, and I was in Florida. I took my childhood and the places I lived as a boy, and put them into a story for her.
How does your marriage work what with travelling, shows and such? A bit of a personal question but I’m sincerely intrigued.
It works, although it bumps sometimes, especially if we’ve been apart more than a month. On the good hand, we rarely run into a situation where one of us is on tour and the other is at home feeling lonely. We get lots of wonderful reunions out of it.
How would each of you describe the other in bed?
Amanda tends to sleep on the right and often sleeps naked. She’s cuddly, much less talky than I am, unless she decides that she wants to talk. She likes sex. She reads in bed before sleeping more than I do these days.
↳ i’m taking “in bed” literally here. neil is selling himself short: he’s an excellent cuddler. he also likes sex a lot.
we tend to use bed as our space to talk about our actual relationship and our sex life…we don’t do that shit over dinner. it’s the place where we can hold each other, be safe, away from work, phones and other people and let all of our feelings out.
we’ve recently been apart for about a month until a few days ago and this morning we’d planned to get up at 8:15 am and go to a yoga class and lunch together before hitting this reddit at 1 pm. instead, we woke up at 8 and had sex and airings-out and arguments and makings-out and generally caught up about all of our feelings and shit (it’s been a month, after all) until noon. when we’ve been apart for a while, that tends to be necessary when we get back together. and we prioritize it.
neil also sleeps strictly with a pillow made of beans and i sleep strictly with a squishy tempurpedic pillow that i also drag around on tour with me.
and we both grind our teeth, so we both use night guards. it’s really un-sexy and therefore sexy as hell.
Hello lovely people. When you collaborate for instance with the 8×8 and Evenings with you two, how do you figure out what to perform?
It depends. If I’ve written something new and I want to find out what people think of it, I will perform that.
I have lots of poems and short stories and such, so it’s whim what gets chosen. Amanda has hundreds of songs.
Amanda and I in collaboration have a VERY small repertoire of songs we do. If she’s playing Ukulele, there’s Makin’ Whoopie, Psycho, The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side (A magnetic fields song), and if she’s on piano, Jump! I Google You, and the 8in8 Problem With Saints. (Most of these are on the EVENING WITH NEIL AND AMANDA CD).
Amanda does her own set list for what she wants to do, as do I, although it’s not unknown for one of us to make request of the other, or to suggest a story or a song that we thing works for that evening.
Any plans to do more “Evening with”‘s together, preferably in Europe?
We plan to do them whenever we know we are going to be in the same place at the same time and we feel like it. They are for fun, not our day job, after all.
We’d love to do one in London, for a start.
(I’d generally only want to do European gigs in places where most of the people in the audience spoke English, though. You don’t need to speak English to love a song. You do to listen to a poem or a story.)
What one thing you’ve both written, story-wise or song-wise, do you think that best expresses why you have a passion for writing and singing, respectively?
for me…. i’d give “the ukulele anthem” a listen. it’s on the new record (on the “amanda disc”)
there’s also a song by the dresden dolls called “sing” that might blow your dress up.
What kind of tea do you both like?
We both like green tea, and we both like fruity teas. Only one of us likes proper British Tea with milk. I am not going to tell you which one.
↳ YOU’RE SO TRICKY
To Amanda: how many of those black shirts Neil have?
honestly? like 100.
Does he have them in Black and Slightly-Darker-Black?
no lie: he keeps them in plastic tubs and actually does differentiate between which ones are spanky new and which have been washed A LOT and are now off-black.
What is your biggest fear for the future?
My biggest fear for the future is that we’ll kill the oceans. We seem to be well on the way.
I look at things like the TerraMar project – http://theterramarproject.org/ – and hope that they have some kind of chance of delaying things for long enough to turn it around.
my biggest fear for the future is that we won’t revolutionize our way of thinking fast enough to keep the planet habitable. reading up on the current state of affairs, it seems possible that only a massive overthrow of the system is going to ensure that we get to keep hanging out on this ball of dirt. i like it here. it’s nice. i hope we figure it out.
Over the past few years you both have been accosted with questions, comments, and general bitterness from people who say not-so-nice things about your relationship. How do you cope with it at the end of the day, when you’ve been married for two years now and yet again someone has to say something spiteful or ignorant?
I had run into nasty people on the web before I married Amanda, but marrying her opened the door on a whole new level of unpleasantness. It was like lifting up a rock and seeing what squirms underneath. And then slowly I started to realise that an awful lot of the nastiest haters appeared to be one person cutting and pasting away, and industriously spending every evening googling my name and Amanda’s and posting strangely unpleasant dispatches from an alternate universe. And then I felt very sorry for that person, because it doesn’t seem like much of a life.
this is a good question.
first off: neither neil nor were strangers to haters when we met each other. from the first outing of the dresden dolls in 2000 (my first band, which was just me and one other guy) in boston, i was confronted with the amazing phenomenon that is People Who Love To Spend Their Time Hating & Criticizing Artists. back in 2003 when the dresden dolls built a proper website, i even made sure our designer put in a section called “hate mail”. and this was pre-social network, pre-myspace. these were just plain old hate letters, via email. that site is still up, and the hate mail section lives on!!!: http://www.dresdendolls.com/hatemail.html
there was even, back in the heyday of livejournal, an entire community was dedicated to hating my band.
neil can chime in about his own pre-marrying-amanda-palmer experiences, but he certainly had his own field of trolls and neil-gaiman-haters before i showed up.
so it came as no surprise to both of us that our union ushered in a whole new exciting era of hatred for the trolls and critics.
on the upside, coping with it when you have a partner who TOTALLY UNDERSTANDS how it feels to read a load of bullshit comments is WAY easier, and i think it’s one of the big reasons neil and i are and were attracted to each other. our job is weird. we’re constantly in the public trying to communicate and make art and it’s impossible to do that nowadays without facing haters and trolls….and it can feel really lonely.
we also serve to edit one another. both of us try to protect each other from taking troll-bait. we’ve traded “DELETE THAT TWEET YOU’LL ONLY ENCOURAGE THEM” emails and phone calls with one another more than once. it’s nice to feel like we’re part of an engine room that way….we protect and help each other.
i WAS a bit shocked when i realized that there was a whole subculture of WOMEN who were basically grumbling “fuck that bitch amanda palmer for dating/marrying my favorite author. now i can’t like either of them”. it seemed to me emblematic of the entire problem with feminism…a bunch of women scratching their own (and each other’s) eyeballs out because they’ve been fed the cultural lie that there’s only one place at the table for a single power, instead of understanding that the more we support and encourage each other as women, the more powerful and happy we can be on this fucking planet.
and the truth is…it’s just part of the job. i have accepted that doing this job (especially as a woman, which generally means i’m more of a target) means that “learning to deal with the trolls” is part of my everyday to-do list. you get good at it.
and honestly….the more i do it and learn about this part of the universe, the more i approach the haters and yellers with compassion. the more i look, the more hurt i see, and the less i feel like yelling back. from where i’m standing, the ones screaming the loudest probably need the biggest hugs.
I have this feeling that every show. Every single second of every single show was spontaneous and compelling and different from one show to the next. How did you pick and choose what made it to the “An Evening with” album? And how did it not turn into a 133 cd box set?
It was hard. We listened and we sighed a lot.
We gave away hours of digital extras and an extra CD to people who supported the kickstarter, and if you get the version at https://old.amandapalmer.tasty.studio/ you can get lots of digital extras…
You have said before that you both have an open relationship and I have a couple questions about that. Why did you two decide to open your relationship? And what are some of the benefits to your relationship style?
For those of us who are in open relationships it is really awesome to see public figures who are open about it. More acceptance!
glad to be of service. hopefully you saw the longer thread answering this…
for the record, i actually know quite a few people (artists and otherwise) who are in open relationships, but don’t go around broadcasting it. neither do we. i don’t really hang with the poly community or go on “open marriage” pride marches. that being said, there aren’t a lot of people trying to oppress our way of doing things, not actively, at least. if people showed up with pitchforks on my lawn (and my friends’ lawns) regularly, doing some parades might start to look more tasty.
I would have been perfectly comfortable being not public about it. But Amanda was interviewed, and asked directly, and, as is her wont, she answered directly. (IT was at http://www.out.com/entertainment/music/2012/09/20/amanda-palmer-neil-gaiman-open-relationship). I discovered once out that I didn’t actually mind being out at all. The credit for that one is all Amanda’s, though.
If there was anyone to ask the horse sized duck or duck sized horses question it would be this couple. Reddit has let me down. Neil and Amanda, would you rather fight a horse sized duck or 100 duck sized horses?
That’s the sort of thing that people ALWAYS ask on the web though. Here, I answered it at http://www.lomography.com/magazine/lomoamigos/2011/03/10/catching-up-with-lomoamigo-neil-gaiman
How do the two of you force yourselves to write and work when you aren’t in the mood?
I can’t speak for Amanda. In the old days I used to do it mostly by telling myself that if I didn’t write I wouldn’t eat, and neither would my children. That always worked. Also, it was true.
What is your best advice for keeping the relationship going when dating an artist can be frustrating and lonely at times?
I think you have to accept that an artist also has a relationship with his or her art and his or her fans: you are in an open relationship whether you like it or not. Give the artist room to go into the place they create (literally or metaphorically). And love them when they can’t remember where they put their keys.
Neil, what’s your favorite of Amanda’s Songs?
Amanda, what’s your favorite of Neil’s writings?
and what do you love about it?
My favourite of Amanda’s songs is The Bed Song. It’s clever and honest and moving, and it’s like a novel about a relationship compressed into in 6 minutes.
my favorite writing of neil’s is probably the new book (the ocean at the end of the lane). but before that, it was the short stories collections (smoke and mirrors in particular).
Two part question here
Being polyamorous I’m often curious how others arrive at opening their relationships. How did you two breach the subject of an open marriage and was it a result of rigorous tour schedules or have all your relationships been open?
Was the song lost written because you actually lost your wallet or did the metaphor just make sense in relation to other losses going on at that time?
We both came from closed relationships (although Amanda had tried all sorts of relationships before that one). We both wanted to be with each other, but also we wanted more than that. From the very beginning of the relationship, in early 2009, possibly even before we started actually going out, we knew we wanted to be free to be with other people when we were away, and that we wanted to build the kind of a relationship in which that would bring us closer. So far it’s working pretty well.
Do you think that you would still have an open relationship even if you weren’t away from each other on tours etc?
I don’t know. It works okay currently because we have people we can kiss all over the world. If we both lived in a small town and never left, we might decide it was easier to have a closed relationship. Or we might not.
What’s it like having an open marriage? Are there relationships that seem to detract from your marriage rather than enhance it? How do you handle complications that arise?
It’s good. So far, it’s really good.
We’re very aware of each other, and we would not allow another relationship to imperil what we have.
We talk. And talk. And talk. And hug a lot. And talk some more. And then do whatever needs to be done in the real world.
Amanda: I saw your show in Copenhagen a few weeks ago, it was amazing. Your Lou Reed cover made my night. Do you have any ideas for what we could do as a society or legislatively to foster more free creativity and to spread culture more freely? Your TED talk was awesome.
thank you! glad you liked copenhagen. that show was epic (and we loved denmark in general).
re: your question….since we are technically here to discuss our new “evening with” record, i can tell you exactly what you can do. support as many artists as you can DIRECTLY. neil and i were just chatting about whether or not to include the amazon link to the record in the intro (above). we included it, but i do often feel like i’m on a personal mission to get people USED to not taking the easy way out and only ordering music via iTunes and Amazon and the channels they’re used to. a lot of artists are trying hard to keep control of their content and their interactions on their own portals and websites, and it’s almost always better to by direct from the artist than to go through a third party.
that being said: here’s the direct link to order/download the record: https://old.amandapalmer.tasty.studio/
and it’s on amazon and itunes too….if you wanna.
Neil: Who would be your favourite supporting character in any novel?
Amanda: What song would you turn to to cheer yourself the f*ck up?
Puddleglum, in The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis.
i tend to get happy every single time i hear the opening sounds of “bittersweet symphony” by the verve. i also got insanely happy in a cab in london the other day when i heard “dont know much about history” by sam cooke. i just couldn’t not be happy. that was surprising. but there you go
I have two questions: Amanda, is there a REAL Blake (in Blake says?)? And Neil, in “I Google You” were you googling amanda?
I wrote “I Google You” when a singer named Peri Lyons asked me to write a torch song for her cabaret. (I only tend to write songs when asked.) When Amanda and I first met properly, in August 2008, we were talking about Sinatra, and I mentioned that I’d written a torch song, and sang it to her. She went and got a recorder and made me sing it again. I was amazed and delighted when, a week later, I saw her perform it on YouTube in San Francisco.
And googling Amanda is about as pointless as googling me: there’s too damn much stuff out there, so I’ve never bothered. Googling should be reserved, late at night, for that girlfriend who broke up with you when you were both sixteen, to try and figure out if she’s still alive and where in the world she is these days.
Will there be “An Evening with …” at Bard to introduce you two to the community?
There was already an Evening with.. at Bard, in April.
If you were to wake up to discover that you had swapped bodies the morning before a show, what would you do?
to be honest, i would be so distracted by having an exciting new penis that i don’t believe i’d think very much about the show.
What helped influence you early on (music, books, people…), and how did it influence you?
I can’t tell either of you thank you enough…
you’re so welcome.
there’s actually a track on the new record called “judy blume” where i talk in the introduction to the song about how i realized – all of a sudden – that i’d never recognized her massive influence on me, as a woman, as a writer, as a embarrassing-truth-sharer.
and that’s after a dozen years of journalists asking me the damn question. it was a real revelation. it made me realize that there are so many things that just don’t make it onto the list because we generally don’t think outside the box when it comes to huge things that have influenced us in addition to the obvious shit.
off the top of my head right now, for fun:
obvious that has influenced me as a child/teenager: -the beatles
-the beach boys
-MTV in general, esp watching 120 minutes
-the legendary pink dots
-my parents & step parents (all 5 or 6 of them)
-they might be giants
-john hughes’ movies
-the wall (the film and the album)
-santa sangre (the film)
-the doors (the band, that is, not the things you use to separate rooms)
AND not so obvious (and less “credible”) things that influenced me:
-my parents copy of “the joy of sex”
-the brady bunch
-weird al yankovic
-the choir music i sang in the episcopal church (aged about 6-13)
-one single novel by jackie collins called “rock star” that i read when i was 12
-the woods outside the house i grew up in-
-my next door neighbor anthony
-my older brother karl’s record collection, which i dubbed almost in it’s entirety
-my older sister, HUGELY (for better or worse)
-the porn magazines i managed to get a hold of
-all radio and television commercials everywhere (this one freaks me out. i can sing TV commercial jingles that i –
-have memorized but haven’t heard since i was like 7, but i often forget the lyrics to MY OWN FUCKING SONGS).
-that weird shit on backs of cereal boxes
-the graffiti on the side of that abandoned house on the walk to school
-the boxes in the attic
I don’t really have a relevant question, so I’m just gonna ask how many toasters you have at home?
There is only one toaster and it is TERRIBLE. It eats toast, and then I have to turn it on its side and shake it to get the toast out. And toast crumbs come out too and go all over the kitchen.
Why do I have such a toaster? Surely I can afford to replace it. Sigh.
First question, does it surprise you when your works are challenged or censored? Is it a moment of pride when something impassions people so much that they attempt to ban it?
Second question, as a (fairly) young writer, I was hoping for words of advice when it comes to publishing a piece of work (poetry, short story, novella). Anything?
It’s mingled pride at being thought worthy of censorship and grumpiness at the people who think that the solution to ideas is to try and stop them.
Keep writing. Don’t be disheartened when stories don’t sell.
A more writery Doctor Who question for Mr. Gaiman: Between your two television episodes and the 50th anniversary short story, you’ve written a bit of the Eleventh Doctor (and quite enjoyably, I might add). If you were to write a story involving any other Doctor, who would it be and why?
The Doctor is the Doctor. Matt Smith wasn’t cast when I wrote the first draft of The Doctor’s Wife.
Neil, when I was in college, several professors told me to read your work as they though it would inspire me. I did, and it did. I’ve been writing for some years now and put a few short stories out to float about in the world. People seem to like them, but here’s my struggle: I love writing novels. I’ve written quite a few, but every time I go to re-read and then send them out on their own, I find something else that needs fixing, something else that could use some tweaking. How do you decide that yours are done? Also, what is your go-to writer’s fuel? Do you have a special writer’s hat?
There’s always a point where you have to let a story go. Art isn’t finished, as many people before me have pointed out, only abandoned. And eventually you abandon your new child and hope that you’ll get it right next time, or the time after that, and you never do.
Stephen King said, “The Road to hell is paved with adverbs,” yet you use truck loads full of adverbs. Is Mr. King too confident in his statement or is it just an English thing or perhaps a stylistic choice?
The puritans had a saying “God loveth adverbs, and careth not how good but how well”. Which would seem to indicate that God is on the Road to Hell…
I think Steve’s rules work well for him, Elmore Leonard’s worked fine for him, and mine (http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/28/neil-gaiman-8-rules-of-writing/) work just fine for me.
Amanda! Have you thought of doing a Nirvana covers album?
i have to learn to play the lute first. then and only then.
I’m thinking of getting a tattoo of Merv and Destiny playing a board game. What game should they be playing?
My vote would be for Scrabble. Or Monopoly. Either way, Destiny wins.
I was attending a TEDx event, where your talk was played. Whenever I feel lost in life or need something uplifting, I watch it.
you’re so very welcome. i’m so glad the TED talk is resonating with so many people.
guys, love you both to pieces… i have a small tiny complaint though… just downloaded the bundle and quality of sound is very arguable… i mean at some point it’s hard to hear what is said…what’s up with that?
really? we think it sounds pretty amazing…which tracks are you having a hard time with?
the intro to the 1st record itself (where margaret cho is bantering) may arguably be the “loosest” of the recordings, but it was so fucking funny/good we wanted to keep it. if you’re judging based on that, i wouldn’t worry….it gets and stays better.
How do you decide on the language, tenses and “voice” you will sue to write in? ie the mechanics of writing in first person vs third, active or passive voice, descriptions and flow versus adjectives, dialog?
You decide in the same way that you decide how to tell a friend a story about something that happened to you. Take a deep breath and start…
Will we see a sequel to your acclaimed young adult book, The Troll Twins of Underbridge Academy?
As soon as I can get people to write it for me. Bwahahaha. Er, heh-heh-heh.
I am curious about your opinion of the movie adaptation of Stardust. I absolutely love the book, and I absolutely love the movie–but the two bear little resemblance to each other. Do you feel that the movie was able to uphold the spirit of your work even with a mostly altered plot?
I like to think of the two Stardusts as the Earth-1 and Earth-2 versions.
I produced the movie, and lots of things in it, like the “What do stars do, shine…” showdown were mine. They felt right for a movie but wrong for a book.
Sometimes I think I’d love to see a stage production or TV adaptation that was closer to the book, though: more melancholy, for a start…
Would you rather have feet sized ears or ear size feet?
Ear sized feet. Some ears are pretty big.
Neil – One night, due to a lot of problems I was having, I was contemplating going home and offing myself, and I was leaving a friend’s house, and he handed me Death: The High Cost of Living, telling me I HAD to read it, but to make sure I brought it home to him the next day. I took it and went home, decided to read it before doing anything else, and I loved it so much that I read it about three times in a row, then went to sleep without doing anything stupid.
I’m proud of you, and really glad that the story helped save you from doing anything foolish.
Neil, I know you were dear friends with Diana Wynne Jones, who is one of my absolute favorite authors of all time. I’m trying to convince friends to read her books. Which one do you think it would be best to have them start with?
It depends on the person. Her books are so different, figure out what the person you are talking to likes, then suggest a book based on that. I love Archer’s Good best of all, but that’s just me.
Why did Delight become Delirium?
Since I am smart enough to know you will never answer this on an internet forum I will also ask…will you ever tell the reason in comics?
I went to the Sandman convention, Fiddler’s Green, in 2004 and it is still one of the most amazing experiences. Any highlights for you from the convention?
I must say to anyone reading this I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Neil Gaiman twice and he is an amazing, warm, and friendly man. Thank you Neil for all your work and your great relationship with your fans. Shameless plug for my subreddit /r/Sandman
If you could go over there an make a post Neil that would be amazing. If not you are still amazing. Much love to you both.
I’ll go and find it. And thank you for the kind words.
What are your views on Welcome To Night Vale? (Former, writing half) How do you feel about all the criticism TOATEOFL got? To clarify, I loved it, just interested.
I think I must have missed all the criticism. I saw lots of lovely reviews, a couple of not-so-nice, and the Book Award nominations, and the Best of Year appearances. I don’t remember releasing a book that got so much love on its immediate release. (It’s very nice, by the way, and refreshing.)
Amanda – How do you explain your assertion in your “WHERE ALL THIS KICKSTARTER MONEY IS GOING” blog entry that the CDs alone would cost you $105,000 when your initial kickstarter goal was $100,000?
Did you simply not do enough math to realize that your goal amount wouldn’t even cover the CDs, let alone the LPs, 7″s, Art Books, Neil & Kyle books, a tour and other rewards?
If 3,000 people had preordered the CDs, and the Kickstarter had only reached $100,000, then she wouldn’t have needed to spend $100,000 on CDs. 25,000 people ordered CDs, so she needed to spend more on making them.
My husband and I donate monthly to RAINN, simply because I too am a victim of sexual assault in the military. Recently I saw on their website an opportunity to volunteer in the speakers bureau. Ever since I reported my assault I’ve told myself I would do something and make a difference like a motivational speaker or something and this seems like the perfect avenue to start. The problem is that it’s still a very sensitive subject for me and I am terrified just to send in the application. So my question is have you had any interaction with RAINN’s speakers bureau and what was it like? What sort of questions were they asked and how did they seem to handle it?
I’ve never worked with RAINN’s speakers bureau, although I’ve worked with them and donated to them for many years now. You should talk to them directly.
Neil, You’ve stated that you have sequal ideas for most of your books, but may not have the time to write them. In the past years, we’ve seen continuations of both the Dune books and the Lord of the Rings books, based on half-finished notes left by the original authors and guided by their heirs. Will you be leaving behind similar notes one day (many years from now, hopefully)? If so, who do you think will take up the mantle, and which of your books do you feel is most suited for posthumous sequals?
Oh, I hope that doesn’t happen. In a perfect world I’ll live long enough to write ALL THE BOOKS.
My question is for Neil (Amanda, your stuff is awesome too!), but when you write — how much time do you spend researching? When reading American Gods, it felt well researched and I loved the femme fatale characters, but it was very involved and a lot of your stories feel that way which is one of the many things that makes them so spectacular!
I think I spent about 35 years researching American Gods. Only one or two years actually researching it while writing though.
Which of you is the better cook? Do you have a favorite meal to make together?
I don’t know which of us is a better cook, but I enjoy cooking more.
I always hear things about an American Gods HBO Series, pilots and greenlights and all sorts of things. Whats the truth?
There is an American Gods TV series in the works. It’s no longer with HBO. The moment that things are ready to be announced I am sure they will be, either legitimately or via a leak in a big Hollywood Agency mailroom.
hello to both of you! my question is for Neil: how do you seem to write the child psyche so well? do you draw from your own childhood experiences?
Yes. That’s pretty much it: it’s the only childhood I went through, after all.
Neil, as a kid, did your unique outlook on life ever creep your parents out?
I don’t know.
Neil, which historical figures do you find most fascinating?
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. Queen Elizabeth (the first one).
edited, see source link below for fully comment: …THANKS COOL GUYS. I’m coming to NYC this Saturday to see “An Evening With You” so I’m extremely excited. The related theme between my two long paragraphs (forgive me people of reddit!) is that you two are champions for what I believe to be the good in the world and I am really thankful there are people like you out there. There are a lot of champions for evil out there, and it’s nice to remember that while there is less on the other side, they are still a force to be reckoned with.
That’s wonderful. (See you on Saturday.)