The Joy of Writing

Last night I was lucky enough to get to see Neil Gaiman live in conversation with Claire Armitstead from the Guardian. What a fantastic evening that was! I won’t go into the details of what was said here as an outline was posted live on the Guardian’s blog at the time.

One snippet of news really excited me was in response to a question put to him asking if he would ever return to Neverwhere. Quoting from the Guardian blog:

NG says he loved the Radio 4 version of Neverwhere and felt “I want to go back there”. He was asked to write a story, and he wrote a 10,000 word one – “probably technically a novelette” – and it was “really fun going back”. Characters include the shepherds of Shepherd’s Bush and the elephant of Elephant and Castle. It is called How the Marquis got his Coat Back. But he does say a sequel to Neverwhere would be called The Seven Sisters.

Neverwhere was the book that first got me into Neil Gaiman, and still remains my firm favourite. I simply love the joyful way he plays with place names and ideas within it. I guess it also resonates a little with my work with those in crisis through the church, especially our foodbank. Thought the radio production was terrific, and can’t wait to hear more. What the Guardian blog failed to record was his suggestion that he would be returning to write the sequel within five years. Here’s hoping! It was fun walking across London from Liverpool Street to reach the venue, and looking out to see what curios and places might feature in a Neverwhere type book. So many fantastic little snippets out there from another world/time/place.

One thing the evening really underlined for me was that I want to be a writer. Not saying that I want to give up my job and become an author, but I want to write more. I’ve really got a kick out of writing my NaNoWriMo novel, and now I’ve got back into working on it again, I’m determined to press on and finish it. No idea if it’s any good, but right now that’s only secondary! There’s more I want to write as well, other ideas percolating away too follow. Gaiman was asked about whether he’d ever produce a truly interactive book with all the possibilities that ebooks are beginning to offer. He didn’t dismiss the idea, far from it, but he did argue that there is much more interactivity with standard books than we give credit for, and how amazing it was that a reader can take these twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation thrown on a page and decode and compile them into ideas, stories and pictures. The power of words and imagination is a wonderful thing. I explored this in my Masters course, seen it in my work telling stories to audiences young and old (especially young, too many of us turn allow our imaginations to become stale as we mature) and I’d love to be able to explore the joy of seeing it happen through the written word as well.

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