Ragazzi, I met Neil Gaiman.
I actually first heard of Neil Gaiman through Tori Amos; I was a big Tori fan, and I knew they were friends, and I knew about the “winks,” the mentions of Neil in Tori’s work and Tori in Neil’s. I read his stories for the women of Strange Little Girls.
And then I read American Gods.
Felicity wrote me a story once about Cordelia Chase, and there was a line—forgive me, but I can’t remember the exact phrasing—about Angel remodeling the rooms of her mind. And that is exactly what that book did for me. I’m a writer, and some books are just books and some things you learn things from and some books are flesh, a part of you, and American Gods was that for me.
Since then, I’ve read almost all Neil’s books, over and over again, and he has secured his place firmly as one of my favorite authors. And tonight I met him. He was in Savannah doing the Unchained Tour, which I’ve written about before, but basically it’s storytellers, telling stories. Which doesn’t do it justice, because it’s a wonderful, organic event, but he came and he told a story, and then afterward, for no reason whatsoever except that he is, at least in my experience and in the words of George Dawes Green, who runs Unchained, exceptionally kind, he stayed and signed books and took pictures with and talked to his fans. I was going to take American Gods to be signed, but it wouldn’t fit in my purse, so instead I took Anansi Boys, which ended up to be kind of perfect, because he signed the dedication page, which in Anansi Boys says is for you, the reader, and he underlined you, which was just … my heart. I’m having feelings.
I just told him that his books meant a lot to me, and I thanked him for writing them. My friend Jenny apologized for not bringing a book for him to sign, and he hugged her, instead. He seemed quiet, understated, and, as I said, kind. They say don’t meet your heroes, but this time, meeting him only increased my love and respect for him.