Anyone who has spend an extended period of time talking books with me knows my favorite author is Neil Gaiman. I first encountered him while watching the extras for Mirrormask sophmore year, followed quickly by the movie Stardust later that summer. I remember thinking, who's this dry, self-depricating Brit here who knows the rules to Faerie. He is bloody awesome!
I was slowly sucked in. I remember in the seventh grade when I was introduced to J.R.R. Tolkein. I didn't even like fantasy before then. Now it's my preferred genre for writing. Freshman year I reread the Narnia Chronicles. The simplicity and honesty of Lewis' work astounded me. How someone could put that much faith and imagination into the same story was incredible. It inspired me and greatly effected my writing.
Neil's work hit me the same way. He has a very frank style of writing, like magical beings were as much a part of the mundane as doorknobs and dental floss. (For him, they probably are.) So I started reading. I started reading his blog http://journal.neilgaiman.com/ which he is a regular updater and alot cooler than me. So, pull that up in a new tab and go. I read most of his books. (we'll get to that.) And when I couldn't read, I watched.
Mirrormask was an excellent introduction. The humor, the simplicity, Dave McKean's to-die-for designs, I was totally hooked. Stardust was quite a departure from Mirrormask. It was a classic fairytale, but it had a certain frankness to it that I enjoy seeing as well as writing. I read the Graveyard book next. The premise was great and Neil has really hit his stride with that baby. Then I plowed through Coraline two days before seeing the movie. It was also excellent and quirky. (I just wish I could have read it in elementary school. I could've turned out so much cooler.) This summer, I found Anansi Boys, Neverwhere, and American Gods at my local library. I was ecstatic. Neverwhere was awesome. I fell in love with London even more -if that's possible- and you know my opinions on the Marquis. Anansi boys was also wonderful. I grew up with my share of Anansi stories, as well as identifying with the perpetually embarrassed Charlie. It was exciting, yet simultaneously comfortable.
Then I started on American Gods. And here's were the apology comes in. I'm sorry, so sorry Neil, but I couldn't finish it. I feel horrible, like I let you down. But, this one didn't grab me like the others. One reason is probably the language. I didn't grow up in a swearing household, so it's always been like static in anything I watch or read. Another thing is that I serve a God who doesn't need me worship Him. He deserves it, and I'm sure He certainly appreciates it, but Adonai just wouldn't be God if he needed us for survival. It's something He's really been teaching me as I read American Gods so the story became increasingly irrelevant to me. I will be taking it back to the library and will never know how it ends.
So, pleas Mr. Gaiman, accept my apology for jumping out of Shadow's truck prematurely. It just wasn't my roadtrip. But know worries, my thanks for Mr. Gaiman far outweigh my apologies. I will be writing him a properly lengthy thank-you note complete with gift shortly. Then hopefully he can write something else and I will be happily sucked into his Faerie again.