A Recap of Seeing Neil Gaiman Live

Posted March 16, 2018 by shooting in Cincinnati / 39 Comments

On Thursday, March 8, myself and a friend were lucky to see Neil Gaiman speak live at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. This talk sold out extremely fast, so I didn’t initially get tickets. However, on the event page on Facebook, I noticed that someone was selling a ticket; it was only one though, and I really wanted to bring my friend Kate, who is a huge Neil Gaiman fan. The site where she was selling had another seller for the Cincinnati show that had two tickets and I immediately snatched those up!

We had such amazing seats. I wish I had a photo to show, but alas, I do not. You’ll just have to take my word for it. Neil was a fascinating speaker and I loved hearing him answer questions and read aloud from various works. Instead of boring you all with paragraphs of information, I thought I’d do some bullet points. These are all things I immediately wrote down after I got back from the talk, so I’m sorry for anything that feels a bit out of order! It’s kind of a mind dump of the night!

  • He started out by reading a lecture he had given once all about reading, libraries, etc. and I believe he said this was only the second time that he’d given this particular speech. Then he answered questions people had written on cards. Then he read a short story about a genie and a girl who didn’t want any wishes. Then answered more questions. Then read a short story from Norse Mythology. Then read a few more questions, and that was it!
  • Neil and Terry Pratchett said they would do a cameo in Good Omens if they could sit in a restaurant near the characters and just eat sushi. But then Terry died, and one of the last things he asked of Neil was to make Good Omens. Neil wrote that restaurant scene, but he couldn’t do a cameo there without Terry – but in the bookstore in the film, the only modern books there are Terry’s and they put his hat and scarf (I think) there, and that’s Terry’s cameo. Neil’s is a guy sleeping/drunk in a movie theater in a different scene.
  • He really loved the film version of Coraline
  • If he could have any other career, he wouldn’t. He’d always want to be a writer…this writer.
  • What gives him hope is children.
  • He believes in libraries and librarians and the power of books. He thinks writers have a responsibility to write good books that don’t preach. He thinks parents have a responsibility to make books available and read aloud to their kids…even after they’ve learned to read on their own. He talked about being a kid and going to the public library and how the librarians treated him with respect – he was just another reader, not a little kid.
  • He never wanted to be pigeon holed as an author. Before becoming an author, he interviewed all these authors who said that when they became famous, they were kind of “stuck” writing the same type of story. He never allowed himself to write a certain type of book – so nobody ever knew what to expect from him.
  • He didn’t expect Norse Mythology to do so well, but his wife did. He joked that if he knew it was going to be a bestseller, he would have written it 8 years ago (it took him years of thinking about it, writing here and there, etc.)
  • He would never want to just travel and give speeches. He likes doing a certain amount a year and then going home and writing.
  • He told a story about Douglas Adams and how his publisher had to lock him a hotel suite to make him finish a book. And he joked that Terry Pratchett was the opposite – you’d have to lock him in a suite WITHOUT a computer to keep him from writing.
  • He talked about working on the graphic novels Sandman and how the comic might be 10 pages, but he’d give the illustrator 50-60 pages with the “script” so the illustrator had an idea of how to draw the scene. Neil said if you can’t collaborate with someone or you wouldn’t be okay letting the illustrator take your notes and then do their thing, you shouldn’t work on comics.
  • Someone asked a question about how they should develop their style. He said that you really can’t. What you do is write, and write, and write, and then someday, people will read all of your work and recognize your writing. He joked that someday a person will be like “I love your style” and you’ll say “Thanks, I didn’t realize I had one.”
  • He said there is nothing wrong with escapist fiction.
  • He considered Ray Bradbury a friend of sorts (they’d meet on panels, etc.) but it wasn’t until after he passed, when other friends and Ray’s family told Neil that Ray really loved his writing – Neil didn’t realize.

***

I’m so glad I was able to see Neil speak and that I could take a friend who loved his writing so much. This definitely made me even more eager to read more of Neil’s work – I love what I have read!

Do you have a favorite Neil Gaiman work? Is there an author you’ve seen speak that just left you in awe?

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39 responses to “A Recap of Seeing Neil Gaiman Live

  1. oh wow I AM SO JEALOUS! Happy for you too Lauren! Gail is a genius. I have a complicated relationship with him [as well as King] I guess he is too much of a genius for me sometimes BUT I still admire his work very much!

  2. I can only imagine how amazing it was to see him and listen to him speak, he’s such a fascinating individual! I love all the things you learned about him and shared, I love his statement about writing and how someone will say they love your style and being like, I didn’t know I had one. SO cool.

  3. Hil

    I love most of Neil Gaiman’s work but that’s one of the biggest reasons to love him as a writer. He offers up such a variety of things you never know what you’re going to get.

  4. What an incredible event this must have been to hear him speak live. Whenever I think of him, I think of Tori Amos, my musical favorite of all time, and their friendship and how she sometimes writes Neal into her songs <3 and the wife always knows what will be a good book!! Ha, the same thing happened to Steven King. He apparently threw the manuscript of Carrie into the garbage, his wife fished it out, and boom! Another writer is born 😉

    Love what Neal had to say about libraries <3

  5. RO

    Wow! It’s quite clear that you were meant to see him speak, and I’m so glad it worked out. I’ve never heard of this event, but it sounds like it was filled with lots of good and fun info! Hugs…RO

  6. Sounds like such an awesome event, and that’s cool how you got tickets! I think he’d be an awesome author to see. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! I love the bit about Norse Mythology, and his comments on writing style.

  7. I have The Ocean at the End on the Lane on my Kindle. I know it’s very short so I should just read it already.

    I’ve only read American Gods but I love him on Twitter. He always has interesting things to say so I bet it was ever in better in person.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

  8. Wow Lauren, what an amazing experience! I can’t even begin to imagine how in demand he is to hear speak and what an extraordinary career he’s had. What strikes me most is how humble he sounds, preferring the quietness of home and his children rather than the big crowds that come with being a popular and well known author. Neil Gaiman is a treasure and I think his writing will be enjoyed for generations to come. Thank you so much for sharing Lauren, really enjoyed it <3 <3

  9. Jen

    How fantastic! I loved the little candid bits you shared from his lecture. I love writing too. I do quite a bit of it that never gets shared, but are just for me.

  10. I’ve seen him live too, in 2016. It was an amazing expreience, he is a such a lovely person and a great storyteller. (Your can read my post about the event here: http://boyishbookworm.blogspot.hu/2016/06/book-event-view-from-cheap-seats-by.html)

    I like how detailed your recap is, thank your for all the info about Good Omens!! <3

    (I'm a new follower on bloglovin' by the way, your blog is awesome!)

    Ronnie @ Paradise Found recently posted: Tell Me Something Tuesday #2 Books I can't wait to share
    • shooting

      Thank you! I’m so glad you like the recap. I really tried to share as much as I could remember. I’ll be checking out your post soon!

  11. Gah, I only read bits of this because he is coming to our city (OUR TINY CITY!) in November!!! I am soooo excited!! 🙂 I don’t want to read too much in case he talks about similar things. I’ve only read Stardust so far. I just got one of his books of short stories (Delicate Things) last night and I have Neverwhere and The Ocean at the End of the Lane on my shelf! So excited to get to reading a lot of his work before November! So cool that you got to hear him speak! 🙂 XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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