Ahhh! One of my dreams came true this week! I saw Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, have a talk at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Tuesday. I’m still giddy with fangirl mania.
It’s been hard to have adventures in the cold, but I packed on layers and layers of clothes and trudged down to Brooklyn for the chance to see two of my absolute favorite authors.
I met up with BiblioSmiles editor and fabulous friend Danielle, and her equally lovely roommate Caitlin. We had dinner at the Haitian restaurant La Caye. I’d never had Haitian food before, and I think it needs to make some regular appearances in my diet now! Yum!
Then we went into the splendor of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which was way classier and swanker than we had expected.
I was nearly bouncing up and down in my seat. Two chairs awaited on the stage below. The talk was called ‘En Garde!’ but despite Daniel Handler practicing his best evil laugh, he and Neil Gaiman did not engage in any sword fighting.
Last May, I had already seen Daniel Handler at Book Con. But this was my first time seeing Neil Gaiman, who is kinda, sorta, my favorite author. Daniel Handler is also in that top five. You couldn’t have chosen a better two matched authors for this talk; both Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler are known for their quirky, dark humor in their writing and their wry honesty.
I’ve loved Neil Gaiman’s writing since way before it was appropriate for me to. In middle school, I became obsessed with The Sandman and that raised multiple eyebrows as adults asked my parents if they thought I really should be reading that. (I have a lot of strong feeling against censoring kids from books, but that’s a whole other blog post). And then my mom and I both read Coraline, which is supposed to be a children’s book but is delightfully creepier than any children’s book I had read before.
Daniel Handler, meanwhile, is best known for A Series of Unfortunate Events, which I didn’t finish reading until college. His writing is terribly funny for both kids and adults. He goes and finds the boogeymen in children’s nightmares, and basically provokes them until they attack. Give them a read, if you haven’t!
So, some cool things about the talk?
- They both picked Reykjavik as being the place to visit aside from the US/UK. More Iceland love! Yes!
- Speaking of Iceland, each country seems to have something gross they get away with, according to Neil Gaiman. Fermented shark in Scandinavia, natto in Japan, the UK has marmite, and the US has… things that aren’t cheese
- They both write longhand as opposed to on the computers—apparently having to name your work when you save it is too much pressure, says Daniel Handler
- Daniel Handler’s favorite word is defenestration. Neil Gaiman’s is sinople
- On Poetry:
- Neil Gaiman: Publishing poetry is like throwing rose petals into the Grand Canyon and waiting for the boom.
- Daniel Handler: I’ve heard it’s like wetting yourself in dark pants—you feel warm but no one else knows.
- When Neil Gaiman read Stardust translated in French, he was alarmed by the inclusion of footnotes that were describing it as an allegory to Pilgrim’s Progress. It’s not.
Clearly, I’m still geeking out about this amazing talk!
I have no cares about ever meeting a A-List celebrity or sports player. For me, authors are the ones that I would love the honor of meeting. They have such vast, infinite worlds inside them. Their stories are such a gift to the world! I’ve been very blessed for having been able to see so many of my favorites already: Rick Riordan, Anne Rice, Ann M. Martin, Gail Carson Levine, Daniel Handler, and now Neil Gaiman too.
Do any of you have someone you’d be completely starstruck to meet?