Writing Challenge 22 – Someone I Love

Considering the fact that I’ve already included most of the people I love in my “3 Things I Love” post  and that I’ve repeatedly brought up certain people over the last week or so, I realized that I’ll probably need to bring up someone I love that I haven’t mentioned recently. So I’ll have to avoid family members, friends, Tom Hiddleston, and my boyfriend. They’re all awesome, but I need to babble about slightly fresher blood here.

So I’m going to go on and on about Neil Gaiman instead.

Oh, I’m sure that I’ve mentioned how much I love this guy and his work before – if not here in this blog, then in some other public venue online. But I’m not sure I’ve fully explained how much this man has influenced the choices I’ve made since I was a kid.

Me and Neil Gaiman at a book signing.
“I took up Literature because of you, Mr. Gaiman.” Photo circa…I don’t even remember. I was in college. And it was too awesome.

As you know, my father raised me and my siblings on comic books. In fact, I firmly believe that the above-average reading comprehension scores we got as children were entirely due to the fact that my father let us read the comic books he bought as a kid – comics from the 60’s and 70’s, mostly. They were great fun too. But up until that point, I never really understood how a story can affect a person so deeply. I enjoyed stories. I enjoyed storytelling. I just didn’t realize that story telling can have deeper meaning.

When I was eight years old, my dad sat right next to me on the couch and read me Vassily’s story from Gaiman’s The Sandman comic series. By the time Daddy finished the story, I was obsessed. I started breaking into his book shelf, finding his stash of Sandman comics. Granted, they were rather mature for me at that age; but it was too late. I had discovered that stories were powerful, and I wanted to discover more powerful stories.

Thanks to Neil Gaiman, I discovered more obscure Mythological characters and gods. I learned what “hubris” actually meant. I came to understand that there is a price, there is always a price, and that there is always a choice–even if you don’t like your options. Thanks to Neil Gaiman, I discovered other writers who made me think: Susanna Clark and Pratchett, as well as the unmatchable Alan Moore. I even learned to appreciate unconventional art through Mr. Gaiman; my father bought and later on bestowed upon me an original Vertigo Tarot deck set, which I might add is FREAKISHLY ACCURATE. I still don’t know how it does that, but I imagine that Dave McKean‘s art, in conjunction with Gaiman’s handbook, is more powerful than they let on.

By the time I hit senior high school, the combination of my father’s and Mr. Gaiman’s influence had convinced me that becoming someone who reads or writes for a living is the only way I want to spend the rest of my adult life. I could have taken up a course that’s both creative and practical, like, say, Mass Communication (which both of my parents took up; it’s how they met) or Advertising (an industry in which my parents both ended up). But somewhere deep in my heart of hearts, I know that those courses will not make me happy. That’s why I became a Literature major.

Stories you love to read
And even if I gripe about Literary academics sometimes, I absolutely love the readings they gave us.

Of course, I didn’t become the kind of writer Neil Gaiman is. I’m a little bit closer to the kind of writer my dad became–more artisan than artist, in terms of profession. But here’s the kicker: because of this writer, I discovered REAL storytelling. I was inspired to go out of my way and try to understand how storytelling works. I try to incorporate it into the stuff that other people pay me to do. And a huge chunk of my success is due to the fact that I took up Literature (which I was drawn to because of Mr. Gaiman, even if he didn’t go to university himself).

Many people may not think that I’m living up to my dreams because of my professional choices. But the thing is, as far as I’m concerned, I’m still making good art. That’s all that matters to me. Being paid enough to be comfortable for doing what I do right now is a bonus. Neil Gaiman started as a journalist. I’m a web content writer right now. At the end of the day, as far as I can tell, Gaiman was, is, and always will be a writer.

I, too, am a writer. And Neil Gaiman is someone I love because he made a significant contribution towards the writer I’m working to become.

Also, he totally admitted to liking Dr. Zoidberg in Futurama. Which makes him extra awesome.

Neil’s book “Chu’s Day”, and I’m waiting for “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” to show up in local book stores. As far as I’m concerned, he has a story for everyone.

Someday, I hope to be the same sort of writer.

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