Why do I love Neil Gaiman so much?
To be honest, I don't fully know the answer to that myself. There are probably better writers out there; certainly, there are better-known writers out there. (Sorry Neil, but most of my family and friends would have no idea who you are if it wasn't for me raving about you constantly.)
Really, I think it's his voice. No, not his singing voice (though that's not half bad, and I'm still wandering around the house singing 'You Think I'm Psycho Don't You, Momma' to the dogs. They love it.) I'm talking about his writer's voice, that thing that every creative writing coach tells you you have to develop for yourself. Before I'd ever seriously thought about writing myself, before I'd wondered if I could develop a 'voice' of my own, I was aware of Neil's.
I was a damn good essay writer when I was in university - A's and A+'s were the norm. However, as the result of my own peculiar brand of warped logic, I convinced myself that if I could write non-fiction well then I would only ever write fiction poorly. All my dreams of being a writer - forget it. Maybe I had the ability to review books, spend my life parasitically feeding on the creativity of others, but I certainly didn't hold any of that creativity myself.
Then, around about 1999 I read Gaiman's The Price. I held my breath the whole way through, then read it again. And again. My hair stood on end; not only at the story, but at the fact that this story was VOICE, pure and simple. To paraphrase Yeats, it was impossible to tell the dancer from the dance, or where the author ended and the story began. I read The Price and felt like I knew the author, as though he had sat beside me and told me the story directly. The Price is a simple tale, written in simple terms, and it changed my whole mindset on writing. Suddenly I thought, "I can do this too." It was a whole new concept for me. (And yes, it is the mark of any good art that it makes you think "but I could do that". I know that. Don't burst my bubble.)
So, now I have Tweet Treats published and that's terrific. I'm fiercely proud of this cute little blue book - it was creative in its own way, in its concept - but I want more. I want to publish a work of fiction that is entirely of my own creation. Frequently I feel the fear, that old conviction that I'll never write good fiction; but when I do, I re-read The Price. Or any other Gaiman short story - or novel. His voice rings clear through them all. It comforts me, and I know I can find my own.
So what has this post got to do with Tweet Treats, you ask? Well, I did get to give Neil a copy of Tweet Treats - and got him to sign mine. A spurious excuse perhaps, but I'm ok with that.
And thanks for tolerating my fangirlisms. (What? It's a word if I say it is.)
|Yes, I know this is a Cthulhu Cookie, not a crumble. So sue me.|