Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why Friends Shouldn't Buy Friends Books.

There and back again; a tale by Keren Veisblatt.

This all started because blogger buddy and all-around best friend, Leah, bought me the book Coraline last year, which I promptly read in 2 hours flat and then said, gimme more, like Cookie Monster,and devoured four other pieces by Gaiman within a week. Now I'm an official follower, not in the Twitter way, in the real life...I stalk this man way.

While standing in line, arriving one hour early to see Neil Gaiman, science-fiction/fantasy author of Coraline, Sandman, Good Omens, The Graveyard Book and other eerily complete novels, I found myself standing with the rejected souls of high school club, to be specific these types of people (in prose form, note a terrified Keren below, left):

....Plaid, neon stripes, weird wiccan hair ornaments, people that say things like, 'that's so derivative, man', pixie cuts and then really scraggly unkempt dark hair with split ends, nerd voice talking about statistics, girl with Indian braids, awkward man complimenting girls boobs and giggling, teen discussing the redeeming qualities of Iowa, 40 year old soccer mom with a fairy shirt on, man doing Rodney Dangerfield impressions badly, man in full blown suit giving out business cards about his bug preservation business, blue spiked hair, woman dressed as witch but wearing sneakers, non gendered person dressed in cosplay outfit, buttons on all purses, girl reading bad poetry out loud, Asian sketching herself as an anime cat, dragons on 4 shirts, ironic Hawaiian shirts, non-ironic Hawaiian shirts, man with purple painted toenails in Sikh attire, frames with no lenses, skirts over jeans, Lesbian dressed as Asian boy, lesbian dressed as princess from Sleeping Beauty, blue hair, green hair, yellow hair, rainbow hair, girl taking picture with flash to see if auditorium is haunted, girl touching pages on her book slowly and purring audibly, man playing with one hair on bald head, man with violin and guitar case forgetting to pick up either every time he walks, skirts worn over jeans. Weird goatees that remind me of the 1760's, man in full winter coat in 92 degree weather, serial killer lookalike count at 5...

Aha! The over sized Auditorium clock chimes 7 and we all shuffle into our seat.  The panel is meant to showcase contributions from Neil Gaiman's new book, STORIES. Those present included Kurt Andersen, Jeffrey Ford, Kat Howard, Joe Hill, Lawrence Block, Walter Mosley, and, of course, Neil Gaiman.

Lawrence terrified me by reading excerpts of a story entitled "Catch & Release"...which is essentially about the moments before a serial killer skins a woman.

"Polkadots and Moonbeams" by Jeffrey Ford has some of the most amazing metaphors and similes I have ever encountered, i.e.  the sun rising like a bubble in honey, and her dress' dots like the stars patterned in a perfect universe.

The book is filled with big-shot, big-name writers, Joyce Carol Oates, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Chuck Palahniuk...but there sat Kat. In a panel of all men peeped one very small woman, with a pair of very intense shoes, Kat.

This is her publishing debut and her story, "A Life in Fictions", was a grand reinterpretation of the fantasy genre. After she finished reading the story to the six hundred person audience, I went home and re-read it to myself, just as personal the second time...just as empathetically scary. Read it, buy the book, and read it. But buy the book anyway because it's brilliantly edited.

The overall theme of the night was,
"The joy of fiction is the joy of the imagination. . . ."

All words, put to paper are imagined worlds with imagined words. If they are describing New Jersey, or the imaginary planet Chuzoo, they are still fantasies and still creations of the authors vast and limitless imagination. Now, with the internet, there is a promiscuous availability of information but not imagination. A good book, whether about vampires, murder, extramarital campus romance, harlequin romance, or detectives, supersedes genre.  

As Neil says, "As I close my eyes, the world becomes no darker".

Side Note and After-Hours Edit: Head over to Kat Howard's blog where she actually responds to my comment, huzzah. --->Strange Ink.


Radstronomical said...

I will surely buy this. Coraline and Good Omens are my fava favs.

Leah, wife of Jacob said...

I love the quote at the end. It may be my favorite now.

greeneyes said...

yeeeeeah, I'm going to need that book.