Feller and I made the trek into the city last Friday night to attend Neil Gaiman’s Last US Signing Tour. He’s one of my favorite authors and pretty much the only person in the world for whom I would sit around for five hours to get something signed. We got there just as the doors were opening, and, somewhat as I was expecting, the line to get in stretched down the block. Thankfully, we still got some pretty decent seats.
When he walked onstage around 715, he looked pretty much the way one expects Neil Gaiman to look: all in black with hair that goes in every direction. When he started speaking, I was somewhat surprised to learn that in real life, he sounds exactly the way he does in interviews and audiobooks and the like. I find his voice very soothing and absolutely ideal for telling stories. I told Feller that he reminds me of a cozy granpaw, who you love tucking you into bed because he’s got THE BEST stories.
He read to us from his new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The excerpt was delightful and witty, and I am looking forward sitting down and reading it myself. I’m also going to be downloading the audiobook, which he narrates. As I said, his voice is soothing, and he has a delightful cadence and inflection reading the story. (It doesn’t hurt that the audiobook is less than six hours long, which will provide me a nice break from the 43 hour long audiobook to which I am currently listening.) I was actually a little surprised at how short this book for adults is, clocking in at 181 pages, but it’s also a relief. I have so many other books in my To Read pile, that the prospect of adding a tome is not thrilling.
After the reading, he answered some questions and then read a bit from the children’s book he has coming out in September, Fortunately, The Milk, which sounds utterly wonderful. Following that, the signing begun. Feller and I were on the far side of the lower level, so we didn’t even get close to the stage until nearly 11. Feller was wonderful throughout, especially since he doesn’t love Gaiman as much as I do and was there primarily as my Book Mule (they only allowed each person two signatures).
When we finally got up there, Neil was warm and personable. He joked about Amy!, who comes with her own exclamation point, said that now he was really excited about my name, too, and went back to the “Amy and Feller” inscription to add an exclamation point when I asked him. He signed my copy of Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader “Bats Wishes” and drew a little moon on our copy of Ocean. He told the audience beforehand to just ask for a hug if we wanted/needed one. After Feller and I got our somewhat creepy hover picture behind him (as he wasn’t pausing in the signing for pictures), I asked and received a warm, wonderful hug that just cemented his place in my heart at Best Author Ever.
It was just such a phenomenal evening. Almost exactly what I expected but perfectly delightful nonetheless. It was one of those times when you meet your hero, a person you admire greatly, and they don’t disappoint you. He was just as warm and funny as I could have ever imagined, and I’m so glad I had this experience.