Probably the weirdest one yet.
Sometimes you just want to draw a Christmas tree. Too bad I couldn’t think of anything to go with it.
Happy holidays folks. It’s been a strange, great, terrible, wonderful year.
I was going through my notes archive and found this weird little thing I wrote a few years ago. Enjoy!
How to Cook and Eat the Avengers
So you’re thinking of invading Earth. I’m sure you’ve already got a detailed plan for how to defeat The Avengers, but have you thought of what to do with them next? With the proper preparation, each Avenger will yield a unique and memorable meal.
Place live Avenger in a large stock pot of tepid water. Slowly increase temperature until struggling ceases. Do not be disturbed if you hear a noise akin to screaming, it’s merely his soul escaping his body and does not last long. If you are squeamish, get him intoxicated prior to cooking, he’s less likely to notice. Once fully cooked, break through exoskeleton and enjoy.
Season liberally with cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. Wrap in pastry dough and deep fry until golden brown. Serve immediately or freeze to eat later.
Eat raw. This Avenger has a natural kick.
If obtained when fully ripe (dark green) this Avenger will serve a large gathering. Roast on a spit for at least eight hours and carve. Meat will be tender and juicy. Do not cook if meat is pink, servings will be small and bitter.
Generally bland. Smoke or marinate to infuse with flavor. Best on sandwiches.
Only for the daring of palate. Flavor is strong and like many Scandinavian cuisines, the aftertaste can be unpleasant. Pair with pungent cheese and amber ale.
I’ve been rewatching Gilmore Girls recently. I started before the announcement of the revival because I had the DVDs and hadn’t seen it since it first aired. I was doing a season every few months but sped up once Netflix declared a November release date for the new series. Watching so many episodes in such a short time, I’ve noticed a few things that I didn’t the first time around.
I relate to Paris more than is probably healthy. Rory’s hair is almost always fantastic. Lorelai’s hair alternates between fantastic and highly questionable.
Rory’s boyfriends were all horrible. Seriously Logan Huntzberger is the walking embodiment of white privilege with the added bonus of being a master in the art of gaslighting. Fuck that guy.
On a very tangential tangent, in an episode I just watched, Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr. popped up in a tiny role as the editor of Princeton’s newspaper who participated in a panel about college papers with Rory. He has two lines and is referred to as Pompous Princeton Guy. And he is sooooo superior to all of Rory’s canonical love interests! I now only want him to return and sweep her off her feet. Dean, Jess, and Logan need never be seen again. Okay, I’ll allow Jess to appear but only because he’s important to Luke and he’s the only one of the three to have a little positive character development. But anyway Rory + Burr now and forever! Wouldn’t proud DAR member Emily be delighted? Even if he is a villain in our history books.
The elder Gilmores can be infuriating, but it’s hard to hate them. And seeing Emily as a widow is going to be intense.
Lane’s season seven plot is so egregious it makes me wonder if Keiko Agena did something unspeakable to one of the writers’ dogs in real life?
But the thing I need to talk about, the thing that makes me trepidatious about the new episodes is that there are a lot of gay and fat jokes. I texted my sister about it the other night. I going to paste parts of our conversation below since I articulated most of what was bothering me. Also, I’m lazy.
Let’s pause here. As I said the gay jokes tend to be in the vein that the concept of homosexuality is inherently funny. There isn’t any sense that the people making the jokes think gay people are disgusting or unnatural. But references to anything related to queer culture is treated like a punchline.
Pajiba actually ran a think piece on the subject in 2015 that I found while looking for examples. The full article can be found here. The following quote pretty much sums up my thoughts on the tone of the jokes and my reaction to them.
“But I’m not here to review the show (though I’ll toss out the obligatory flashing of Gilmore gang tattoos by declaring that I’m 100% Team Jess), I just wanted to throw out an oddity I noticed. That show has at least every couple of episodes a throwaway gay joke that is just flat uncomfortable. None of them are particularly offensive, in fact all of them are basically the same joke: guys without girlfriends are obviously closeted gays. Joke that Luke has a date after years of not, well good for him, people were starting to talk, HAHAHAHA. Town dysfunctional Kurt manages to get a girlfriend, nice, because you know what people were starting to think, HAHAHAHA.
I’m certainly not trying to slam the show as homophobic, but it’s a fascinating example of how that slow movement of what is culturally acceptable happens without us even noticing. It’s one thing to point out that James Bond was a misogynistic douche in movies made fifty years ago. That seems enough time for us to recognize that times and culture change. But Gilmore Girls is barely a decade old, so being able to pick up on the way that shift has slowly happened is intriguing. …But what’s interesting about noticing it in the annals of Stars Hollow is that it’s not special, it’s just the passing and casual jokes.
I remember it being that way, and most of you probably do, too. At one point, those jokes were funny. Now they’re not. They’re uncomfortable because you realize they’re hurtful, even if people then didn’t find them that way.”
The fat jokes are worse in my opinion because they do often equate fat with gross or pitiful. There are a few overweight characters on the show, and to its credit, the fat jokes are never directed at them. When the show pokes fun at Lorelai’s best friend and business partner Sookie, it’s about her quirkiness or that she’s easily distracted. Not about her weight. If they make a joke at the expense of dance teacher Miss Patty it’s about her past as a showgirl or her taste for younger men. If they’re going to make fun of Taylor the town’s resident bureaucrat and boy do they ever, it’s because he’s a control freak and borderline megalomaniac. It’s not about weight. It’s almost like the characters are multifaceted and can’t be reduced to a single physical attribute. It’s one of the reasons I really love the show.
Full disclosure I identify as bi and physically I am a lot closer to Sookie or Babette or Ceaser the Second than I am to Lorelai or Rory. If that makes me more sensitive to these types of jokes, so be it.
Despite not fat shaming their characters, the writers still go for the fat jokes. They just aim them at people who don’t appear on camera. Like celebrities or random people they run into offscreen. I haven’t been cataloging the jokes but one from an episode I watched a not too long ago went something like this.
Lorelai and Luke return to the diner after a day at the mall. Lorelai looks into a shopping bag and says “What’s this?” displaying something pink and silky. Luke says “it’s the underwear you bought.” Lorelai feigns offense and shows a pair panties to him and the audience. They are large and unflattering. Luke says he didn’t notice the size and they speculate that they switched bags with another woman at the store. If that were the end of it, it would be about the same level of dated and awkward as the gay jokes. But it doesn’t stop there. Lorelai continues to pretend outrage at being mistaken for a fat person and goes on and on about how sad the woman was, implying that she’s a lonely spinster with too many cats. Based only on the fact that she is fat and I think a cat related bumper sticker. Is it obvious Lorelai is joking and not really angry at almost being called fat? Yes. But it’s still a good three or four minutes of fat shaming, presented as charming banter.
And it looks like I’m not the only one to pick up on it this time around. I found this article on Bustle while again searching for examples.
Okay back to the texts.
I meant Melissa McCarthy, not McCartney.
I doubt the revival will make Melissa McCarthy jokes unless it’s a winking “How about that all female Ghostbusters remake?” But I can see them making “harmless” fat jokes about Rebel Wilson or Gabourey Sidibe or Lea DeLaria. At least they would during the show’s original run. My hope is they won’t in the upcoming Netflix series.
When I say it wasn’t as progressive as those other shows I mean that I don’t recall them casually tossing off fat jokes in the same manner. Though I haven’t rewatched them quite as recently so I could be misremembering.
However, those shows didn’t feature any important characters that weren’t Hollywood’s default body type. So in that way, Gilmore Girls was the more progressive show. In fact, they’re still way ahead in that respect. I can’t think of a single current CW show (Gilmore’s former network) with a fat character in the cast. Vampire Diaries? No. The Berlanti DCverse? Don’t watch all of them but I don’t think so. Not Supernatural either. The closest I can come up with is Jane from Jane the Virgin while she was pregnant. Which does not count at all. At least I hope most people would not count pregnant as a fat. Nope Gilmore Girls was definitely and sadly ahead of the curve not just by portraying fat people as complex, interesting people, but by even acknowledging their existence.
By the way, Orange is the New Black is a great example of a show featuring people but mostly woman of all shapes and sizes. And it’s a huge hit. So now Hollywood has to admit that not-skinny people exist! They’re just all in prison!
So that’s the crux of my worries about the revival. I love the show. I loved it back then, and I’m thrilled to be getting more. I’m eager to see Luke and Lorelai reunite. Because c’mon they have to. I want to know how Emily is coping without Richard. How Rory’s writing is going. How many more careers Kirk has collected. Heck, I’m even curious whether Paul Anka the dog conquered his many neuroses. But I worry that with all the expectations creator Amy Sherman Palladino will either A) not be aware that attitudes have changed since the show went off the air. Or B) will feel that doing anything differently will be a betrayal to the fans.
I don’t want new episodes of Gilmore Girls that feel like they were written in 2006. Even if it would be the best show of 2006. And Gilmore Girls possibly was the best show of 2006. I want fantastic episodes of Gilmore Girls written, produced, and aired right now.
I’m still prepared to follow where the Gilmore Girls lead, just not quite as blithely as I was before revisiting the show.
Finally, mosquitos are the worst and I need them to stop.
And on that note. I’m done.
Alright, this post contains spoilers for the Star Wars Episode 7. It also contains a theory that I feel is pretty solid so could be a spoiler for future episodes. You have been warned.
After seeing Star Wars: the Force Awakens last December I felt pretty confident I knew who Rey was and why and how she’d been abandoned on an isolated desert planet. The clues were all there in the film.
Since then I’ve seen many theories. Several match mine in part, but not entirely. So I thought I’d put it out there.
I believe Rey is Luke’s daughter. Which isn’t much of a stretch. She is strong in the force. His lightsaber chooses her. She’s a gifted pilot. Visually she’s his echo in her costume and the environment we originally see her in. They end the film face to face with Skywalker hero music swelling. Plenty of people have come to the same conclusion.
(Though some think she’s Han and Leia’s daughter, and others think Obi Wan’s granddaughter. I think Luke makes the most sense. Other people really want her not to be a Skywalker or Solo because why does the hero always have to be from one bloodline? I somewhat agree but it’s Star Wars and why else make such mystery of who her parents are? Besides, we’ve got Finn and Poe as our non-Skywalker heroes).
All the other theories I’ve seen conclude that Rey was left/hidden on Jaaku to keep her safe. Some say by Luke, others by her Aunt Leia, others by her as yet unidentified mother. This is where my theory differs.
What we know for sure is that Rey at the age of 3 or 4 was left on a remote planet in the hands of a scavenger. She remembers a ship flying away as she screamed for it to come back and not to leave her. She seems to have grown up on her own, with no one looking after her. Her memories before arriving on Jaaku are pretty much nonexistent, but she believes that the person who left her there was family. And she clings to the belief they will come back.
I find it very hard to believe that anyone who cared about little Rey would’ve thought leaving her to be raised by an uncaring scavenger/merchant, or alternatively raise herself was the safe option. Though it does seem to have worked out.
He did not strike me as a loving foster father.
So here’s my theory. I’ve not looked everywhere so it’s possible someone has already come up with this. It’s based only on evidence in the movie. I’ve thought this since I first left the theater and it still feels right.
Luke has a daughter with someone. I have no theory on who. Things are idyllic for a few years; he’s busily training his new class of Jedi. His daughter, who is probably not named Rey, shows signs of being strong in the force, and he has plans to start training her in a year or two.
Then Leia sends her son Ben to Luke to train. She’s worried because he is drawn to the dark side. Especially troubling is his deification of Grandpa Vader. She believes only Luke can bring him back to the light. Han firmly disagrees, causing a rift between them. None of them know that Ben has already been recruited and is being corrupted by the Sith, Commander Snoke.
To complete Ben’s turn to the dark side, he’s ordered to kill all the potential Jedi, just as his grandfather did before him. He joins the Knights of Ren, taking the name Kylo Ren. It’s worth noting that the only time we see the Knights of Ren in the entire movie is during Rey’s vision.
In fairness, this could be a vision of the future and not the past.
So Kylo and the Knights of Ren kill all of Luke’s students. Kylo then goes to kill the lone remaining future Jedi, his little cousin. He kills her mother and comes close to killing her. But as we’ve seen in the movie, the light side still has a hold on him, and he can’t do it.
So he grabs her, steals a ship, and dumps her on Jaaku, believing she’s as good as dead. And is at least out of his way. He tells his master he killed her.
Kylo is the family she screaming at to come back. A four-year-old who’s seen her mother murdered and has been left to fend for herself could easily forget her past.
Meanwhile Luke comes back from wherever he was when all this went down. He sees the aftermath of a massacre and believes his daughter was killed by his nephew along with her mother and all his students. Despondent, he disappears to atone for his failure as Jedi, teacher, uncle, and father.
(It makes more sense to me that he’d disappear thinking his daughter was dead rather than him knowing she survived and dropping her in the desert before going off to sulk.)
Han and Leia split after learning what their son has done and what he’s become. Each feeling they made the wrong choices and are unworthy of the other.
There are a few moments in the film that back this up that I haven’t mentioned yet.
The first is when the stormtroopers report to Kylo Ren that they traced the droid with the maps to Luke to Jaaku but they lost it again because of a girl. What does Kylo do on hearing about the girl from Jaaku? He flips his shit.
And when his team arrives at Maz Kanata’s castle, who does he capture? Not the droid the First Order has been chasing for the first half of the movie. Not his father who he hates. But Rey. The cousin he failed to kill.
There’s also the matter of Han and Rey’s apparent connection. Sure he could just be admiring the scrappy kid with the excellent piloting skills and an affinity for his beloved Falcon. But there are a couple of moments he seems choked up when talking to her.
Some people take this as an indication that he realizes she is his long lost daughter. I’m not buying it. He and Leia discuss their fallen son but never mention any other children. Even if it’s a painful subject, you’d think it’d come up. After all, their whole conversation is painful subjects.
I think he’s recognizing certain traits in her that remind him of his old pal/brother in law. Plus he probably would’ve known the mother of Luke’s child, and could be reminded of her as well. He sees that Rey may be the child he thought his son had murdered decades ago. Maybe his son isn’t as lost as he thought. What does he do next? Volunteer for a mission that’ll put him right in the path of his son.
So that’s my theory. We’ll have to wait until 2018 to find out if I’m even close.
I had a lot of fun writing this.
BRUCE WAYNE: BILLIONAIRE PLAYBOY OR TROUBLED REPROBATE?
Like me, I’m sure you read Clark Kent’s profile of Bruce Wayne in last Sunday’s Planet, hoping for a few juicy tidbits about the world’s most famous orphan. Sadly what we got was a puff piece about his latest “charitable” project. Sure, sure, world hunger is terrible, blah, blah the needy, but what do really know about Wayne? For someone who has spent most of his life in the public eye, little is known about the reclusive billionaire.
Is the butler pulling the strings?
Who can forget the now iconic photo of a grieving, eight-year-old, Wayne at his parents’ funeral, with no one but a domestic servant by his side? But who is this butler? This Alfred Pennyworth? Was there truly no other person Thomas and Martha could trust with their only child—not to mention his considerable inheritance? A source close to the family believes Pennyworth wormed his way into the Wayne’s inner circle (blackmail anyone?) and made himself indispensable. After their untimely and tragic deaths (side note: some have cast doubt on the random thief myth), their friends were shocked to learn that the late couple had left their son in the care of an employee. The source confirms that Pennyworth, afraid of losing his cash cow, raised young Bruce in isolation, and fostered a sense of dependence in the traumatized boy. His Svengali-like influence over “Master Bruce” as he ironically calls him, lasts to this day. Now in his seventies, Pennyworth continues to play the role of the dedicated manservant, all the while making sure never to lose his grasp on his adult charge. Including meddling in his romances.
Why can’t he settle down?
Our boy Bruce is anything but a wallflower. Barely a day goes by without a picture surfacing of Brucie with the latest über model on his arm. But they’re as disposable as his income. One of the recent castoffs revealed he lavished her with attention in public, but in private he was distant and distracted. He often disappeared for hours at a time with no explanation. The man has commitment issues, that’s for sure. It’s hardly surprising considering that most of his long term relationships (as infrequent as they may be) have ended in tragedy.
Is Wayne cursed? Or is his sinister valet removing them from the picture? Or could it be Bruce’s true interests lie elsewhere?
What’s with the series of younger male “friends?”
I’m not the first to notice that Bruce Wayne prefers the company of young men. Everyone remembers his “ward” Dick Grayson. While it’s hard to fault Wayne for wanting help a fellow orphan-by-murder, there is something off about taking in a teenager less than a decade his junior to “raise” as a surrogate son. Grayson for his part, fled stately Wayne Manor the moment as he was of age, and has remained tightlipped about his former benefactor.
Less well known is that since Grayson flew the coop, Bruce has “mentored” one high school aged boy after another. What makes this fact more disturbing is that every last one is a physically fit brunette who could pass for Grayson’s doppelgänger. Another source who wishes to remain anonymous, claims Bruce dresses his new protégés in his erstwhile companion’s clothes. And call me cynical, but isn’t it a little too convenient that his lately discovered illegitimate son fits the profile perfectly? Let’s hope little Damien’s trust fund can cover the inevitable therapy bills.
How is Wayne Enterprises staying afloat?
Not all of the mysteries surrounding Gotham’s second most famous resident involve his personal life. While Wayne Enterprises perennially sits in the top five of Forbes’ most profitable corporations list, one has to wonder where the profits come from. A W.E. insider says the company develops hundreds of products a year that never make it to market. Wayne Tech’s computer division reportedly makes the likes of Apple and Google look like mom and pop operations. Yet the prototypes, once approved, are shelved for a future release date that never comes. Similar stories have leaked about their automotive and athletic equipment subsidiaries.
Theories abound. Everything from war profiteering to money laundering. Nobody actually suspects Bruce himself, he’s spotted in the corporate offices less often than a Borneo elephant. But surely his negligence left the company wide open to corruption.
So what is happening inside Wayne Manor?
Honestly, I don’t know. The truth could be wilder than anyone imagines. But there is no doubt Bruce Wayne is hiding something. During a recent segment on The View, body language expert Rita Voorhies said he displays all the mannerisms of a practiced liar. Until we get definitive answers, this humble blogger will have to be content studying the leaked photos from the canceled People’s sexiest man shoot. And contemplating the important questions. Where did he get all those scars? And how does he manage to make them look so hot?
I recently read all five Song of Ice and Fire books, and am eagerly awaiting book six. But since George R.R. Martin is dragging his heals, I thought I’d write it instead.
Disclaimer: I was on cold medicine when I wrote this.
A Song of Ice and Fire Book 6: A Crucible of Cats
Prologue: Character Who Is About to Die So No Need To Learn Their Name
POV character pushes open medievilish wooden door. An axe whooshes through the air like something quite sharp and axe-like. POV character dies very painfully. We won’t know that this death is significant for at least ten more chapters.
Chapter 1: Tyrion
“Hands of gold are always cold but a woman’s hands are warm,” Tyrion thought gloomily to himself. Then he did something super cool in the moment but probably foolish, if you can see ten steps ahead, but you can’t so it’s just entertaining.
Chapter 2: Arya
“Who are you?” asks the kindly man.
“Nobody,” replies Arya Stark of Winterfell.
“Liar. You are the most badass eleven-year-old in literature. Now go assassinate somebody who means nothing to you instead of one of the thousands of people who’ve directly wronged you.”
“‘Kay. Vhalor Morgulus.”
“The other phrase I don’t totally remember,” the kindly man says in response.
Chapter 3: Jon
“Winter is coming.”
“You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
“Cut that out already! I know some stuff, and you’re just the echo of the voice of the chick I lost my virginity to, so it’s not like you’re a walking encyclopedia or anything. Ghost, to me.”
He walks off in huff, never to be heard from again. And you never find out who his real parents are. Neener neener!
Chapter 4: Daenarys
Daenarys finally flies her dragons to Kings Landing. Everyone loses their shit. Cersei is eaten by Drogon. Only Tommen escapes. He will maybe one day return to gain back his stolen throne, riding astride Ser Pounce, and it’ll be like a vicious circle. Like in Kill Bill when Uma Thurman told that little girl to seek vengeance on her. Or maybe not. Also something about Stannis but everybody skims those chapters anyway.
I think I really captured GRR’s voice.
There are many things I should be working on right now, but the idea for this weird story would not release me until I’d written it down.
A Plan Gone A’Rye
In retrospect there were a few holes in the plan. Perhaps he could have been more thorough in his research, but Corsokrops of the Guidant Nebula was morphological life form of action. He was proud that his superiors had selected him for a preliminary role in what was sure to be a spectacular conquest. His assignment was to spy on the most powerful person in America. The intelligence Corsokrops gathered would be key in overthrowing the government. The global chaos following the crumbling of a super power would pave the way for a full scale invasion.
Corsokrops studied American current event publications, to find the one person who would have the most important secrets. To be honest he skimmed the publications, as he was wont to do. He hated wasting time, not with such a glorious mission at hand. The articles were terribly dry, and while there were some recurring names, they provided few clues. He soon discovered, toward the middle of most of the publications, a list of public figures, ranked in order of importance. The same name appeared at the top of each list. The man carried an impressive title, American Gods. Not just one god—a pantheon. Clearly this was the man Corsokrops was searching for. He infiltrated the man’s home, disguised as an innocuous appliance. He settled in to absorb the state secrets.
He had misgivings from the start. The man’s appearance was altogether unkempt. He had a mass of wild, curly hair, that rose and fell in odd, abrupt angles, and several days’ growth on his chin. His clothes were rumpled and seemed to be chosen only because they were all of one color. There was none of the gravitas Coroskrops expected in one of his station. The man, for his part, regarded Corsokrops skeptically.
“Have I always had this toaster?” he wondered aloud. Corsokrops emitted a high pitched hum. A subliminal tone to assure the man that he had indeed always had this toaster and there was nothing to be alarmed about. The disheveled man shrugged and loaded Corsokrops with two slices of raisin bread.
This is where the plan started to fall apart. He had chosen the form because he had seen it in numerous American homes. It rarely appeared to be in use. Not like the large cold box or or the radiation cooker. He believed its function to be primarily esthetic. Of course he had made his studies late in the evenings. He was not one to wake early if he didn’t need to. The bread played havoc with his central processor. Soon he was billowing smoke from very uncomfortable parts of his anatomy.
“What’s the use of a toaster that won’t toast?” The man grumbled. He turned Corsokrops over and dislodged the charred bread. Corsokrops was grateful for his assistance, but damned embarrassed just the same. What a terrible miscalculation! “And look at this mess!” The man sighed. “Crumbs everywhere.” He lifted Corsokrops and carried him toward the waste receptacle. Corsokrops hummed frantically. “Well…maybe it can be fixed,” the man said, setting him back on the counter.
This routine repeated daily, but Corsokrops was initially optimistic. He could connect into the man’s electric thought translators. There was no doubt he was gathering vital information. There was a crisis brewing involving a woman with clothing fasteners for eyes, luring children into a parallel dimension. Corsokrops’s superiors would be very interested in this. The woman could be a valuable distraction or a formidable wrench in their plans.
He paid close attention to the event as it unfolded. A female child was currently in her clutches, but surprisingly it looked as though this insignificant minor could gain the upper hand. Corsokrops waited on baited vapor to learn the outcome. It was slow coming. Almost as if the man didn’t always know what was happening. Sometimes the events seemed to shift and rearrange themselves. As though reality had changed its mind. The eventual conclusion was not, as it turns out, relevant to the invasion plans. It was still quite satisfying.
He continued to watch the man’s devices, searching for vulnerabilities in the country’s defenses. America was far stranger than he’d initially realized. Sometimes it was called England. Ghosts often popped up. And assassins. Deities died and were born. For a while an entity called the Doctor was looking promising. Nothing came of it.
Corsokrops feared his superiors were growing impatient. He was desperate to produce something of value. He expanded his searching to older thought translators. The man was constantly discarding translators in favor of faster, more distracting models. He found vast records of unusual and engrossing phenomena. A secret city that existed below and concurrent to a well known one. A fallen star that became a sentient being. And the discovery of something called the San Grail.
It was only recently that the penny dropped. The duck pond was what did it. It could not be both a duck pond and an ocean. Preposterous. What he’d taken as accurate histories were in fact flights of fancy from a remarkable—but insignificant to the scheme of things—mind.
He filed a disillusioned report to the home office. They politely informed him that the invasion plans had been scrapped over a decade ago. He was written off as lost in action. Their many extraction orders had gone unanswered. Corsokrops performed a diagnostic test and determined the problem was due to build up of raisins in his incoming message receptors.
“You’ll want me to come back then?”
“All espionage positions are filled at the moment,” the bored sounding bacterial life form said. “I’ll see if I can find you a place in accounts if you like.”
“I guess. No hurry.” The man had finally started the sequel to Neverwhere. Corsokrops hated to leave in the middle.
This story was inspired by this question and answer from an interview with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer.
9. I don’t really have a relevant question, so I’m just gonna ask how many toasters you have at home?
NG: “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.”
All You Need is Love! Is it?
How big of a Neil Gaiman fan am I? Here’s a hint.
I was first exposed to Neil Gaiman as a teenager by my sister, albeit a indirectly. She lent me the Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll. I devoured it in a few days. I raved over it to her (it’s still one of my all time favorites). She mentioned that it reminded her of a particular arc of a comic book series called Sandman. I filed that away for future reference. About a year later, I was perusing my local Borders. I spotted a few Sandman trades. At that time I didn’t have a lot of money or many possessions to my name. Every purchase was carefully considered. I read each volume’s description until I found the one who’s plot sounded the most like Bones of the Moon. It was A Game of You. I took it home, hoping I hadn’t wasted my twelve dollars.
It probably wasn’t the best place to jump into the series as it was the most self contained arc, without many links to the series overall. It didn’t matter, I was hooked. Over the next year I read the rest of the series in order of what was in stock at the book store at any given time. I had already realized that I liked comic books before I left home, but I doubt I would be as into them as I am if I hadn’t spent that time in the graphic novel section searching for Sandman volumes I hadn’t read yet.
Once I’d devoured the entire Sandman saga, I snapped up everything else with the name Neil Gaiman on the spine. And they didn’t disappoint. Neverwhere, Mr. Punch, Stardust, they all sparked my imagination and made me see the world in a new way. I love the way he writes, often in a personal but slightly esoteric style. I love the way he mixes myths and everyday life in a way that makes me feel like this is the way the world has always been, I just hadn’t noticed before. And I love listening to him read his stories.
And my love of his writing sent me down many unexpected paths. It led me to delving into comic books. It led me to going to signings and conventions at a time in my life when getting out of the house for things other than work was a challenge. It led me to other artists who spoke to me, like Jill Thompson, Dave McKean, and Susanna Clarke.
What it didn’t do was spur me to do was write. Oh, it inspired me and made me long to be a writer. But I wanted to write like Neil, which I couldn’t. I would start a story and give up after a few paragraphs. I just couldn’t do what he does. It took a long time for me to realize that I’m not supposed to write like Neil, I’m supposed to write like me.
Occasionally I hit on something that feels like it plays in the same sandbox as Neil’s work (such as the story I posted on Halloween) and it pleases me immensely, but I’m no longer trying to imitate my idol. After all, he does an excellent job of being Neil. We don’t need another one. And I get to create something that only I could have created. Maybe I’ll never reach his level of craftsmanship, but I’m going to keep trying. And that is one of many reasons I’m a fangirl.