A Gaiman-esque birthday

Neil Gaiman is probably my favourite author; certainly my favourite living author. Even so, I was surprised (and very pleased) with quite how much Gaiman featured on my 29th birthday yesterday.

Jen got me Norse Mythology, which hadn’t really been on my radar, despite being released this month. I was delighted with the present, of course, but didn’t know what to expect – in just over 24 hours I’m now 3/4s of the way through and thoroughly enjoying it. Essentially a series of short stories, light-weight and a bit mad, they are none-the-less engaging and a fun read.

Then my parents went and got me two Coraline prints, both signed by Chris Riddell. They are from the 10th-anniversary edition – which I have signed by both illustrator and author, and which I consider an important part of my book collection – so I’m chuffed to bits with them. They framed one, the other will have to stay unframed for now.

All this Neil Gaiman talk made me think about American Gods. When I think about American Gods, I have to read American Gods. I consider it my favourite book ever, and this time around I decided to listen to the audiobook. It is very well done. Shadow has just been busted out of train-prison by his dead wife – if that doesn’t make sense to you, do yourself a favour and read the book.

Then, to end the birthday-day, we watched the film version of Coraline – one of the few films which I consider to be better than the book (only other one I can think of off the top of my head is Shutter Island, but I’m sure there are others) whilst eating homemade red Thai curry and dumplings by Jen.

On a non-Gaiman front, I also got the final Tribe Called Quest album, which is fantastic. 

Not a bad birthday all-round.

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Inspiration at inconvenient moments

Tonight I’ve been writing. I hadn’t planned on it, but as I was putting the shopping away (Wednesday is shopping night) an idea popped into my head, inspired by the little brown amazon box that was sitting on the hall table when I got home. It was the sort of idea that I only get once every few months. Not a whole story, just an image in my head that had possibilities, the kind that I just can’t ignore. So I stopped with the shopping (luckily the frozen stuff was already away), grabbed my pen and notebook and started scribbling right there in the kitchen. Nothing might come of it, but it is an idea, and now I’ve begun putting it down on paper I know there’s a chance it might just grow into something good. 

Inspiration for me is a tricky one. If I force myself to sit down and write, I might get something decent – especially if it is on a pre-existing story. But more often than not what I force out is a page or two of nothingness that I forget all about the moment I stop writing. If I get an idea like tonight, that’s when I really enjoy it and most often get something worth keeping. The question is though, is it that I’m struck by a great idea and that’s what galvanises me, or was I already in the mood to write without even knowing it and that’s what’s made the idea seem so good? Chicken or egg?

Either way, it’s good to be writing. Ive been working on my second comic script (my first one was the Human Next Door – nice review here) over the last few months, but other than that I haven’t really written any fiction. Hopefully this will help me get back into it. 

Tonight’s writing has been accompanied by the Coraline soundtrack. A couple of years ago Jen got me the Mondo vinyl edition, which I still absolutely love to this day. Perfect writing music, when you tend to write creepy weird stories like me…