Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The King of Nothing to Do #5 / Gaiman Hangover

"I don't remember ever having felt so loved by so many people." -- from Neil Gaiman's blog

I talked to Neil Gaiman. I gave him a copy of my book. "It means so much to me that I can give you this," I told him. "If not for your work, I probably wouldn't have survived my college years." He looked me in the eye and solemnly shook my hand. Am still quietly overwhelmed.

Neil Gaiman has been and gone, and I've spent the whole morning jumping from blog to blog, reading about other people's Gaiman experiences, friends and strangers alike. There's Gerry Alanguilan, who lined up for ten hours just like everyone else, despite the fact that he's a major comics artist and internationally respected and everything. There's Waya and Lala, whose entries I love because they're so emotionally upfront (and yet still funny and well-written). Quark found himself "overcome by this feeling of happiness." Therese has Neil to thank for "the most gratifying and humiliating moment" of her life. Gabby recalls how she first came across his work, and explains why she's a fan -- among other reasons, "Neil Gaiman taught me to write something I wanted to read, and not something my teachers wanted to read, or my friends wanted to read."

Thor admits that, like many of us, "There was also a time when I felt too cool to like Neil. Everybody else was suddenly deconstructing the Endless, some columnist began painting her face like Death, and I didn't want to be mistaken for jumping onto the bandwagon. It's just the way it is. When someting underground becomes mainstream, the purists who don't even pee in the shower ;-) start searching for the next big thing." But of course, in the end, we all come around -- "And fuck it. Fuck the coolness. Fuck the cliques. Fuck the exes who memorized lines. (Well, not really.) Mr. Gaiman wrote and continues to write great stories." Something Thor wrote about the Writers' Forum being like a reunion made me smile. Yvette and I ran into so many friends, so many writers and artists and musicians, and I just thought, if this were an actual reunion, what an incredibly fun, horrifyingly insane school we must have all come from. The College of Gaiman. Hey, I'd enroll.

All of us gaimanerds (to steal a term from Lala) are indebted to Charles, who transcribed the entire Writers' Forum talk, and Astrid, who recorded the radio interview. And finally, more links and thoughts on the whole thing at Click Mo Mukha Mo.

There are, of course, many many more Neilstruck blog entries out there, but if I linked to them all, I wouldn't have time to tell alla youse to go out and buy the Manila Bulletin, because "The King of Nothing to Do," my twice-monthly column, has another installment out today. An excerpt:
My friend Kristine Fonacier once asked me who my favorite interview subject was -- at the time, I was working with her on the staff of a music magazine, and I had interviewed such people as Justin Hawkins (the lead singer of The Darkness), a pre-solo fame Kitchie Nadal, and great bands like Narda, Sandwich, Sound and Parokya ni Edgar. All of them made for good, fondly-remembered interviews, and any of them would have made for a decent answer to Kristine’s question. After today, however, I think I have a clear winner. Rock stars are all very well and good, but Gaiman’s stories of lost souls and lovers, of devils and dream kings, filled with dark humor and quiet tendernesses and epic adventure, and charged with something that no reader should be too embarrassed to call magic, changed -- if not in some way saved -- my life.

Yes: I got to interview him! That undoubtedly ranks as one of the most memorable lunches I've ever had. It was somehow mind-blowingly surreal and utterly, wonderfully ordinary at the same time. By "ordinary" I just mean that he was so casual and friendly and laid-back and all-around nice that one could almost forget that one was sitting next to, well, Neil Gaiman: Neil Gaiman, creator of the amazing stories that got me through some of my darkest days, and Neil Gaiman, trying out adobo flakes and longganisa, and not being upset at all when the dalandan juice he ordered never arrived.

My column today is only partially about Gaiman, though; am still transcribing (and processing) that amazing hour of my life. But anyway, my editor tells me that the "i" section is going to be a Neil Gaiman Special today, so there should be lots for gaimanerds to read.

"But thanks again to you all. And yes, I do want to come back." -- from Neil Gaiman's blog, again

PS. Just got my copy of the Bulletin, now. The ENTIRE "i" section is devoted to Neil Gaiman! Interviews and columns and everythang. GET IT!

PPS. [Added July 14] I was going to post some crappy, fuzzy pix I took at NU on the morning of the radio interview, but you know what, these are much better. Thanks to Francis and Niña!

PPPS. [Added July 15] I love how Quark put it: no matter how everyone says "it's so hyped" and "my god there were so many posers yadda yadda yadda" it was just so exhilarating seeing people scream and cheer for someone whose contribution to the world is... words :)


wawaya said...

sniff and and la are sick today, after effects of having stalked gaiman through the wee hours. but no regrets! drop la a birthday line. how are ya feeling?

Luis K. said...

Am fine, thanks! I have a new resolution: the next time I meet Neil Gaiman, I want to be able to give him a new book by me.

I wished Lala a Happy Birthday earlier today, but it bears repeating: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LALA! :) Hope you stalkers feel better soon. ;p

Gerry Alanguilan said...

Great post man! We're going out to buy Bulletin now! :)

Luis K. said...

Thanks, Gerry! :) Hope you guys enjoy it!

sundial girl said...

hiya sir! ^_^ thanks for the link. new pictures up from the insanity that was neil gaiman.

Luis K. said...

Hi Gabby! :) Will check 'em out later. I had a camera with me that day, but the batteries died early on, when we were still at NU. Still, I have two or three nice pix that I want to put up in my next entry...

Thor said...

"Quietly overwhelmed" is so accurate. Quietly recalling the past days' events. Quietly smiling. Quietly running to buy Manila Bulletin. :)

starshuffler said...

Lucky you, Luis. :-)

I'm still trying to recover from the experience. Ang saya!

Lala said...

I want to hear of your lunch with neil gaiman!

I'm sad hearing/reading all these bitter blogs of people who intentionally did not go just to prove a point. What that point may be is beyond me.

I'm a Gaimanerd and I'm proud.

Luis K. said...

Hi Thor, hi Jovan! Loved both your accounts of Gaimania. :) Lala, just listened to my recording of the lunch, and am kicking myself. The batteries died a good ten or fifteen minutes before the end, so I failed to record such gems as Why Neil Doesn't Believe in The Well-Publicized Secret Origins of Writers (with J.G. Ballard and Diana Wynne Jones as examples), his explanation of The Corinthian's name, and the part where we got all senti and gave him our gifts: Nick Joaquin's "Tropical Gothic" from Yvette, Greg Brillantes' "On a Clear Day..." from Erwin, and, well, my book, from me. Ah well.

Luis K. said...

Just realized, I was having battery problems with everything. ARGH. Still, a minor glitch in an unbelievable day.

Lala, despite having read dozens of accounts of the Gaiman visit by now, I'm glad I haven't really come across any "bitter blogs of people who intentionally did not go just to prove a point." Because then I would have to kill them. No, not really. Why bother when their souls are shrivelled already? Mwahahahah!

wawaya said...

read your article!!! thanks for quoting me, blush blush. as for the stalker exhaustion, it's still pretty strong, feeling feeble and burnt out. but i did blog today, check it out!

wawaya said...

i read one bitter blog, saying he didn't want to go to the gaiman gathering because he didn't want to be with the posers. well, we wish he or she was there, because he or she would have enjoyed themselves.

starshuffler said...

I read a few irked posts as well. *rolls eyes*

I don't get the snobbery, really. (Well, at least not anymore. I used to be like that but now I understand.) That's sooo 90s (just like angst hahahaha). Whatever.

I didn't go to the event because everybody else is going. I went because I *wanted* to be there. It's just weird that some people would misconstrue this as herd mentality, when the plain simple fact is that we all just wanted to see our favorite author in the flesh (okay, there were probably a few who were just there for kicks, but that's not really an issue for me).

Kung ayaw nilang pumunta, walang pumipilit sa kanila. But they did not have to trivialize our reasons for being there.

(In other words, bitter lang sila. Hehehe...)


starshuffler said...

(Oh and I had Nico buy me a Bulletin yesterday heheh... I have yet to get it from him, though.)

I can't wait.


Budjette said...

"The College of Gaiman"
I like that! :)
Sounds like a cool school.
Yup, we all definitely went to that interesting place and came back with "fire from the gods".

Luis K. said...

Hope you liked it, Jovan. :) Will probably write about Gaiman again in the next installment of my column (July 27).

Hi Budjette! I imagine that, in such a college, we would have all had regular classes in comics-making. I mean, what with all those writers and artists in one place together, it would have been a shame if we didn't. Can't quite imagine who our professors would have been, though. And how they could have handled such a bunch. ;p

anansi girl said...

Thanks for the manila bulletin tip, Luis!