Author Events, Author Spotlight, Local San Diego, Uncategorized, Writing

An Evening With Neil Gaiman in Review

In an effort to become a better writer, I’ve been doing a lot of things lately that are kind of outside my comfort zone:

1. I joined a writer’s group. I’m still not sure why they like me, but I’ve spent enough time around horses to know not to look a gift horse in the mouth!

2. I went to a writer’s conference. Which I realized I still need to review on the blog. More on that later then.

3. I signed up to go to a second writing conference in May.

4. I got tickets to go see Neil Gaiman speak in San Diego.

The last one is notable because I bought a ticket without finding out if I knew anyone who wanted to go with me. At the time I was thinking I’d probably find someone to go with and we could carpool. Which did not happen. So I’m super proud of myself that I didn’t flake especially because I had to drive myself downtown to go.


Anyway, back to the event. I really had no idea what to expect. It was billed as “An Evening With Neil Gaiman” which is all I really needed to know. What I didn’t expect was how many other people find Neil Gaiman as cool as I do.

Earlier that day I was explaining to someone how the event I was going to was at the San Diego Civic Center. To which they pointed out that it’s an enormous space for an author to book. I looked this up later – The San Diego Civic Center seats 2,967 people. While not every seat was filled, the majority were. And that is just so cool for an author to fill that many seats with booklovers and wordnerds. I’ve been to concerts and sporting events, but there is just something so uniquely magical about gathering a crowd of overly excited introverts together to talk about books.

The setting itself was just as dramatic: a single podium on that massive stage. No signs, no backdrop, no video screen. The whole evening was blessedly free of pomp and circumstance. Just Neil and a microphone.

As could be expected, he did some reading of his work. Nothing I had actually read before so it was nice to experience it for the first time being read by the author. He read a story from his book Norse Mythology and he also read a short story about a genie.


Apparently Neil had also been accepting questions prior to the event. I didn’t know about this, but it was okay. He had quite a stack of questions up there on the stage which he picked from. Some of the questions required longer answers, some just a few words.

Overall, I really liked how the evening was unscripted and fun. It ended up feeling like a very intimate event, despite the fact that perched high on the balcony I had to squint to see the tiny figure on the stage. My only real complaint was that 90 minutes was over much too soon.

If you get the chance to hear Neil Gaiman talk, I highly recommend! He’s as lovely and entertaining as all the Twitter posts have led you to believe.

Speaking of Twitter, this happened the next day:


Life. Made.





In Defense of Hannah Horvath (Girls)

Spoilers: If you haven’t seen this past week’s episode of Girls (I Get Ideas), don’t read.

Lena Dunham’s character on Girls, Hannah Horvath, is a stereotype in the best way and the worst way. But we do know that behind every stereotype is a grain of truth.

The Bad: Hannah is kind of crazy and neurotic and thinks she’s the world’s best writer.

The Good: See above. Writers are kind of crazy and neurotic. Some just act that way more than others. Also, we know that people need to have some level of belief in themselves to succeed, especially writers. Because if you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else?

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At the start of this week’s episode, Hannah has finally cut Adam out of her life, leaving her free to explore a relationship with Sandy. While her friends are glad she got rid of Adam, they’re not too keen on Sandy either. In typical Hannah fashion, she defends him.

Later in the episode, she goes to hang out with the newly-married Jessa. When Hannah tells her about Sandy, Jessa expresses disbelief that he hasn’t read her essay yet, though she gave it to him three days ago. Later, Hannah confronts Sandy about it. He first insists that he hasn’t read it, then cops that he did read it and didn’t like it, at which point Hannah goes off and somehow makes this about race and Republican values which, according to her, consist of gay people not getting to marry, women not being equal, and supporting guns. Anyway.

For once, I think Hannah has some valid points that she’s making (or illustrating, since the cohesion of her thoughts is a little suspect).

Don’t be with someone who’s afraid to tell you they didn’t like your writing and then lies about it. Seriously. 1) Lying is bad. 2) You need criticism to grow. 3) The other person should totally see that and push you to grow, even if you are thin-skinned.

While it’s debatable whether Sandy supports Hannah creatively or not, this point did come up in the episode, which makes it a fair point to address.

Don’t be with someone who doesn’t support you creatively. It’s not to say you can’t love them or they can’t love you, but your creative self is going to shrivel up in the process, under the omnipresent judgment of whether what your doing with your life is actually a valid choice.. You only need to spend five seconds with a person who thinks writing is a worthless pursuit to realize how uncomfortable that is. And also how bad that makes you feel– half like strangling the other person and half like wrapping yourself in a Snuggie and watching soap operas forever. The person you love and who supposedly loves you shouldn’t be a hater. We have the internet for that. Someone’s got to be in your court.

And what’s more, if they can’t love all of you and love you just as you are, why do they get to love part of you, the parts they choose?

Do you watch Girls? What do you think of Hannah or this week’s episode?