Monday, 17 September 2012

Inspiring shit: Neil Gaiman

It's been a while, but I think it's time for another installment of Inspiring Shit. Which doesn't mean it's shit. That would be weird if it is also inspiring. I should just stop talking nonsense right? Right.

Today's inspiring shit is about Neil Gaiman. He is an author. He writes weird and awesome stuff about Gods and falling through the cracks. Basically, he is a fantasy writer who creates worlds far different from our own, in a humourous and scary way.

Even if you're not the fantasy/sci-fi kinda guy (or gal), you might find that you actually enjoy his work. He is one of those rare authors who can switch from brilliant jokes to the most gruesome scenes and back again, without it seeming forced or strange in any way. He has a way with words which has impressed me, and naturally his stories are very appealing and imaginative.

As a student teacher, I have always found it hard to find literature that appealed to pupils. Kids who are 12/13 years old are a very hard audience to please. Whenever I used works from Neil Gaiman, I discovered that the children actually thorougly enjoy them. Especially Coraline is a very popular story for their age category. It sparks their imagination, is a haunting tale with a strong female lead character.

I guess most people are appealed to dark stories in a way. It enables us to explore the corners of our mind we usually shy away from. Neil Gaiman introduces us to them. I was very much afraid of death before, but reading a novel like the Graveyard Book, where death is presented as something that goes hand in hand with life in a funny and witty way, that fear is fading.

My favourite novel of his is Neverwhere. It was the first book I bought written by him and while I was reading it at the airport, I lost every track of time and nearly missed my flight. I won't go into plot details, you can read them here if you like: click me

If you're a comic book lover, you might probably know the Sandman series. I have always wanted to read it, but haven't got round to it yet. I was, however, very much inspired by this poem:

“All around me darkness gathers,
Fading is the sun that shone,
We must speak of other matters,
You can be me when I'm gone

Flowers gathered in the morning,
Afternoon they blossom on,
Still are withered in the evening,
You can be me when I'm gone.”

I like the deep and dark poems like this. They make you think. And as Neil Gaiman is a clever guy who has a lot to say, there are some other quotes I'd like to share;

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.” 
This quote is also from the Sandman series. It appeals a lot to me because I am in a way afraid of love as well. It's difficult for me to let myself go and open up completely. Ah love, such a peculiar thing.

"Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly." 
This is probably my favourite. It has inspired me to dream and to not be afraid of making mistakes anymore. Yes, things might go wrong, but maybe, just maybe if you dream enough, everything can change in a good way.

I am drifting off again. I will conclude this post by saying you should run to your local book store tomorrow and pick up some of his novels. For starters, I'd advice Neverwhere, American Gods and The Graveyard Book. If you're a fan of short stories, get Fragile Things or Smoke & Mirrors. And most of all, just enjoy the stories, and if these stories are not to your liking, enjoy other stories. Isn't that what we all need in life anyway, to fill our hearts with dreams and desires and magical places? Life would not be worth living if we wouldn't have any stories to tell...

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