Monday, July 29, 2013

Neil Gaiman: 'I don't think I'm mainstream. I'm lots of different cults'

The Sandman author reveals how he lied his way into journalism and why he could write a sequel to almost everything he's published

    • The Guardian,            

neil gaiman
Neil Gaiman, author of the Sandman series of comicbooks. Photograph by Graeme Robertson
In one of the earlier stories in Neil Gaiman's hugely popular Sandman graphic novel series, a writer is keeping the muse Calliope imprisoned – "demeaned, abused, and hurt" – to fulfil his need for ideas. She is rescued by Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, who visits a curse of "ideas in abundance" upon the writer. He ends up grovelling on the street, clawing out his stories in blood: "a man who falls in love with a paper doll … two old women taking a weasel on holiday … a rose bush, a nightingale, and a black rubber dog collar … make them stop."
It's hard not to wonder if Gaiman himself ever feels the same way. Already this year, he has published the children's book Chu's Day, about a panda with a big sneeze, and his first adult novel since 2005's Anansi Boys, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. He's also written a Doctor Who episode, and has another kids' book, Fortunately, the Milk, out this autumn, along with his much-anticipated return to Sandman. I emailed him earlier this year to ask if he'd have a chat about Sandman. "Can't happen," he replied. "Six short stories to get written today." OK, then.
Gaiman, chatty and warm despite a hectic schedule on a trip to the UK from his Minneapolis home, admits he "will die with books unwritten". "I think everything I've written with the exception of Ocean has a sequel I could start tomorrow."

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