Tag Archives: neil gaiman

love bites, part 2

Here’s what happened next:

I freaked out a little bit. I mean, I got the shouty spinnies. “You got me Neil Gaiman‘s dog’s teeth to make earrings with? For the Fabulous Lorraine to actually wear?! This is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me!” (My strict grammar training deserts me in high-tension situations.) And then I did a Cordelia: “Excuse me. I have to call everyone I have ever met, right now.”

When I calmed down, I started to freak out in a quieter, more worrisome way. It’s a fun and amazing prospect to think of making earrings with something really special for someone you don’t know but really admire, but then it hit me that I’d be using unique, irreplaceable, very very sentimental materials. The baby teeth of someone’s beloved pet – it doesn’t matter whose pet it is, that’s a very special thing to do. (Weird, I know, Dad – just try to be happy for me…) I want to make something lovely and lasting and unique, that she’ll love but that also looks like I definitely made it. So I got to continue with that quiet, daunting freakout while I waited for the teeth to arrive, all the while debating what to do with them.

My first thought was to set them in silver (with help from some metalsmithing friends) and do something simple but striking. Then they arrived, though, and I saw immediately that wasn’t going to work. Here are Lola’s elegant and dainty teeth:

They’re about a half inch long and a little less than a half inch high at the tallest point, and they’re very, very thin. I was sure that doing any metalwork with them would dry them to the point of making them brittle, and might actually crack them. Drilling them for hanging was also obviously out of the question. I spent the next week staring at them and taking some pictures, while I debated how I might use them and what beads I’d like to use.

Tune in tomorrow for the results.

love bites, part 1: a tooth tale

photo of Lola by @neilhimself via Twitter

Here’s what happened:

The phone rang, and I answered it. It was Shana. You can find out what she said here: http://shanasays.typepad.com/shanasays/2010/07/this-odd-thing-i-did.html

Tune in tomorrow for another toothsome installment!

fragile things, by neil gaiman

Once again, I bring you Neil Gaiman and a book I haven’t finished reading. As with my last unfinished read, this is a case of savoring something so pleasurable that I’m loathe to let it go. Fragile Things is a collection, subtitled Short Fictions and Wonders. That about sums it up. Gaiman is at his funny and unsettling best (often simultaneously) in these pieces. My favorite so far has been “October in the Chair,” a mild and atmospheric fantasy that’s a perfect showcase for Gaiman’s elastic voice and that acrobatic way he twists about from one thing to another without any sense of vertigo at all.

“They looked at one another across the fire, the months of the year.

June, hesitant and clean, raised her hand and said, “I have one about a guard on the X-ray machines at LaGuardia Airport, who could read all about people from the outlines of their luggage on the screen, and one day she saw a luggage X-ray so beautiful that she fell in love with the person, and she had to figure out which person in the line it was, and she couldn’t, and she pined for months and months. And when the person came through again she knew it this time, and it was the man, and he was a wizened old Indian man and she was pretty and black and, like, twenty-five, and she knew it would never work out and she let him go, because she could also see from the shapes of his bags on the screen that he was going to die soon.”

October said, “Fair enough, young June. Tell that one.”

June stared at him, like a spooked animal. “I just did,” she said.”

That’s one of the tidiest pieces of wonderful I’ve ever encountered. First of all, the personification of each month is spot-on perfect. Secondly, that little tidbit there is one of the most wonderful stories I’ve ever read. And it’s tossed off as a joke of a half-story within a story. Such are the riches lurking in this man’s head that he can take a gem like x-ray-reading lady and use it to show how the month of June is an adolescent. That’s why I’m reading slowly. You could overdose from the clever.

batman: whatever happened to the caped crusader?, by neil gaiman & andy kubert

This just in: I am a fangirl. A nerdy, nerdy fangirl. The story of me reading Neil Gaiman’s brilliant 2-part Batman: Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader? is almost as good (I think) as the actual comic. I borrowed it from Shana after it came out last year, and was reading it one lovely Saturday before leaving the house to go to the Printer’s Row Book Fair downtown. I had a short argument with myself about whether I should take the second volume with me on the train. It went like this: “Take it! I want to find out what happens!” “But it’s not your book, and if you put it in your bag, it’s going to get all shcrumply.” “But who killed Batman? If I don’t take it on the train, I won’t find out until tonight! The metacomicmystery will torture me!” “But look how clean and pretty this copy is. It’s collectible. You can’t put it in your bag and haul it all over Chicago.” Tidy Girl won the argument, and the comic stayed home while I got on the train, went to Printer’s Row, watched Gail Gand cook some eggs, met Lynda Barry, bought some stuff from the Drawn & Quarterly Booth, and headed back towards the el to go home. And as we (that’s me and some friends, not me and Tidy Girl who argues inside my head) were rounding the corner to cross Congress in front of the library, I looked up just in time to avoid running smack into Neil Gaiman himself. The actual author, who tells the good stories and wears the good jackets and has the too much hair. So if I had shushed Tidy Girl and stuffed the comic into my bag, I’d have been able to ask him to sign it. As it was, I tripped over my own feet, stumbled slightly, said “Um…but…” and stood staring after him with my mouth hanging open while he smiled, waved and headed into Printer’s Row. That’s a true story. Well done, Tidy Girl. Shut up.

I know it’s hard to believe there could be a better story than that, but the actual comic is pretty excellent. And owes some little debts to both Joss Whedon and Stephen King in the ways-to-make-you-crazy-and-break-your-heart-while-really-impressing-you department. Yes, indeed, I’m a fangirl.

congratulations, neil!

Following Neil Gaiman on Twitter is one of the small delights of my day. His dog is sick, but recovering. There’s no honey for his “almost but not entirely unlike tea” in his hotel room (quote actually by Douglas Adams, but big love to NG for reminding me about it). He’s attending the press junket for Coraline and tweeting incessantly throughout (p.s. I’ve just seen the 3D trailer, and it’s breathtaking). His mind moves like lightning, his spelling is admirable, I have no idea when he has time to write his brilliant books. It’s good stuff. And so I was extra pleased to sign into Twitter this morning and find that he’s just this very second won the Newbery Award for The Graveyard Book. Congratulations, Neil! Now go demand some honey for your tea; the marmalade isn’t going to cut it, and you have interviews to give.