Since my last post celebrated Neil Gaiman's Newberry, I thought I'd trot out my too-frequent thoughts about a real life encounter with he-who-I-wish-was-my-mentor. These day-time musings emerged to haunt my thoughts when I learned that Gaiman lives near the Twin Cities (which automatically made me feel cooler by association, since I live in the same place that he does).
So here is the scenario of what would happen should Andrea run into Neil Gaiman at the grocery store, or Spyhouse, or the Electric Fetus, MIA, my office at Macalester (these are places that I go, I have no idea where Neil Gaiman spends his time in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region. He certainly has not shown up at my office):
I am in the produce section holding a pomegranate and thinking about Persephone. A person next to me picks up another pomegranate and turns it over in his hand. I look up and my jaw drops. Neil Gaiman, being a polite person, smiles in a civil way and takes another pomegranate. Because pomegranates are wonderful and of course having more than one is a nice idea.
I stare and wait for the floor to open up so that Neil Gaiman and I are swallowed by Twin Cities Below (is there a Twin Cities Below Mr. Gaiman?). Whenever this happens we wander through the underworld and I save Neil Gaiman from the giant mosquito or rabid loon that guards the labyrinth, which I'm certain is located beneath the Walker Art Center's sculpture garden. Mr. Gaiman returns happily to his family and, grateful for my heroics, offers to critique my writing and introduce me and my novel to his agent.
But the floor doesn't open up and I am still gaping at Neil Gaiman.
"Oh my god, you're Neil Gaiman," I say.
His smile becomes gracious. "Yes."
I am still staring. Neil Gaiman shuffles his feet.
"Oh my god, you're Neil Gaiman." I say again. I am unable to blink.
Neil Gaiman grips the pomegranate more tightly and looks at the bananas like they are an escape hatch.
The flood gates open. "My name is Andrea and Neverwhere changed my life. I write and I really want to get published, and did I mention that American Gods changed my life. I write YA urban fantasy and did I mention that the Graveyard Book changed my life. And I hope your dog feels better soon, my dog's had a hard time lately too. He's a pug so his sinuses completely freeze in the winter and he can't breathe. And did I mention how much I love Sandman and that what you write about writing helps me to write. Did I mention that I'm trying to be a writer? Congratulations on your Newberry."
I take a breath and notice that Neil Gaiman isn't standing in front of me any more, but there is a pomegranate rolling along the floor. I am devastated because Twin Cities Below must have taken him but not me.
I sigh and wander into the tea/coffee aisle. I convince myself that the conversation went very well. The next day I am served a restraining order.
Alas, alas I should not meet Neil Gaiman, lest I end up a mirror-image of that crazy fangirl from Flight of the Conchords. My writing career would surely be over before it began.