On the date of March 9th, 2018, the KeyBank Theater in Cleveland, Ohio hosted what was deemed “An Evening with Neil Gaiman.” It was very mysterious as to what exactly this entailed, but it consisted of a talk with the best-selling author of many children’s, Young Adult, and Adult titles, including, but not limited to, The Graveyard Book, Coraline, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and American Gods, just to name a few. Neil Gaiman answered questions from fans about his life and experiences related to writing and publishing. He also spent a portion of the evening reading poetry and short stories to the audience.
Neil Gaiman is one of the most prolific authors of our time and has been writing for over four decades. He has written episodes for television shows, such as Doctor Who, and everything from comics to short stories and poetry, to even full-length novels. He narrates the majority, if not all, of the audiobooks for his books. He has voiced characters in animated movies and television shows, such as The Simpson’s. He has won countless awards, including the Newbery and Carnegie medals as well as the Bram Stoker award, among others.
During this evening, Gaiman spoke of his experiences in journalism before he started pursuing a career in writing and how he met some of his best author friends during his time as a journalist as many asked him to write blurbs, which are short quotes summarizing his thoughts on a book, for their works, and this was actually how he met his best friend, the late Terry Pratchett who was a renowned author, and he was half of the writing duo for Good Omens, the other half obviously being Neil Gaiman.
Gaiman spoke of how he has been and is working on fulfilling Pratchett’s final request before he died of Alzheimer’s, and that was to create a television show based off of the book they wrote together. Gaiman is the showrunner, so he approved the casting and oversaw the locations, and he also wrote the script. Everything was to be approved by him so as to ensure it would be the best adaptation possible of Good Omens and that it would have made Terry Pratchett proud. The show is currently filming and will be available on Amazon Prime upon its release.
Many of the questions the audience had for him were about writing and any advice he would give to aspiring writers. There was one question in particular he was asked, and it was concerning what has been coined as “writer’s block”—a term used by writers to describe a time when they cannot move forward on a project they are working on. Gaiman spoke of how he actually didn’t believe in writer’s block. He said that he believed it was a phrase coined by writers to “sound clever” and to avoid saying they are simply stuck. He also spoke of how the only way to conquer that feeling is to keep writing and to keep moving forward. He ended this portion of the evening by saying, “Artists don’t get found. Most of them just don’t go away. They hang in there. Don’t give up.”
Interspersed with all of his talking of his books and experiences as a person and as a writer was this constant tone of humor. He was constantly cracking jokes, and in general, entertaining the crowd. He seemed completely at ease speaking with those that loved him and his books as well as reading in general. He concluded the evening with a short story from his book Norse Mythology. It was a truly delightful and entertaining evening, and if you attended, you must have left with a smile on your face for it was such a delight to see Mr. Gaiman speak.