I think, well, I've had a shit of a life, all things considered. It wasn't fair. Everyone I've ever loved is dead, and my leg hurts all the bloody time... But I think, any God that can do sunsets like that, a different one every night... 'Strewth, well, you've got to respect the old bastard, haven't you?
We were never lovers, and we never will be, now. I do not regret that, however. I regret the conversations we never had, the time we did not spend together. I regret that I never told him that he made me happy, when I was in his company. The world was the better for his being in it. These things alone do I now regret: things left unsaid. And he is gone, and I am old.
It's astonishing how much trouble one can get oneself into, if one works at it. And astonishing how much trouble one can get oneself out of, if one assumes that everything will, somehow or other, work out for the best.
You don't have to stay anywhere forever.
I must confess, I have always wondered what lay beyond life, my dear.
Yeah, everybody wonders. And sooner or later everybody gets to find out.
This was the void. Not blackness, not nothingness. This was what lay beneath the thinly painted scrim of reality.
You're alive. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything.
Idris: Are all people like this?
The Doctor: Like what? Idris: So much bigger on the inside.
The dead can't hurt you, they're dead. Living things can hurt you, living people can hurt you but the dead can't.
The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked... that's the moment you may be starting to get it right.
I'm never quite sure if I'm me when I'm dressed up.
If it were today, I would have her heart cut out, true. But then I would have her head and arms and legs cut off. I would have them disembowel her. And then I would watch, in the town square, as the hangman heated the fire to white-heat with bellows, watch unblinking as he consigned each part of her to the fire. I would have archers around the square, who would shoot any bird or animal who came close to the flames, any raven or dog or hawk or rat. And I would not close my eyes until the princess was ash, and a gentle wind could scatter her like snow.
I did not do this thing, and we pay for our mistakes.
Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten.
She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful.
I liked myths. They weren't adult stories and they weren't children stories. They were better than that. They just were. Adult stories never made sense, and they were slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood. Why didn't adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and smugglers and dangerous fairies?
If you cared enough about your characters, what happened to them was interesting... it's important to care about them, about who they are and what they do...I don't really care whose side they are on, and they can be monstrous on the outside or, worse, on the inside, but you still have to want to spend time with them.
I asked him if it were a mirage, and he said yes. I said it was a dream, and he agreed, But said it was the desert's dream not his. And he told me that in a year or so, when he had aged enough for any man, then he would walk into the wind, until he saw the tents. This time, he said, he would go on with them.
How would you feel about life if Death was your older sister?
One describes a tale best by telling the tale. You see? The way one describes a story, to oneself or to the world, is by telling the story. It is a balancing act and it is a dream. The more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. The most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless.
The tale is the map that is the territory. You must remember this.
You don't want to ask after the health of anyone, if you're a funeral director. They think maybe you're scouting for business.
By the windmills of Babyland he sat down and wept.
I know that David Tennant's Hamlet isn't till July. And lots of people are going to be doing Dr Who in Hamlet jokes, so this is just me getting it out of the way early, to avoid the rush...
"To be, or not to be, that is the question. Weeelll.... More of A question really. Not THE question. Because, well, I mean, there are billions and billions of questions out there, and well, when I say billions, I mean, when you add in the answers, not just the questions, weeelll, you're looking at numbers that are positively astronomical and... for that matter the other question is what you lot are doing on this planet in the first place, and er, did anyone try just pushing this little red button?
It has occasionally been remarked upon that it is as easy to overlook something large and obvious as it is to overlook something small and niggling, and that the large things one overlooks often cause problems.
If I were only allowed to read or enjoy art or listen to music made by people whose opinions and beliefs were the same as mine, I think the world would be a pretty dismal sort of a place.
The shape does not change. There was a human being who was born, lived, and then, by some means or another, died. There. you may fill in the details from your own experience. As unoriginal as any other tale, as unique as any other life. Lives are like snowflakes -- forming patterns we have seen before, ... but still unique.
A page turns. Destiny continues to walk.
I'm not blessed, or merciful. I'm just me. I've got a job to do, and I do it. Listen: even as we're talking, I'm there for old and young, innocent and guilty, those who die together and those who die alone. I'm in cars and boats and planes; in hospitals and forests and abbatoirs. For some folks death is a release, and for others death is an abomination, a terrible thing. But in the end, I'm there for all of them.
What are these fundamental principles, if they are not atoms?"
"Stories. And they give me hope.
You know the best thing about aeroplanes? Apart from the peanuts in little silver bags, I mean. It's looking out of the windows at the clouds and thinking maybe I could go walking in there. Maybe it's a special place where everything's okay. Sometimes I do go walking in the clouds but it's just cold and wet and empty. But when you look out of a plane it's a special world... and I like it.
It is sometimes a mistake to climb. It is always a mistake to never make the attempt.
Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!
But I have always thought that these tulips must have had names. They were red, and orange and red, and red and orange and yellow, like the ember in a nursery fire of a winter's evening. I remember them.
The world is always ending, and the end is always being averted, by love or foolishness or just plain old dumb luck.
And there never was an apple, in Adam's opinion, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it.
In every way that counted, I was dead. Inside somewhere maybe I was screaming and weeping and howling like an animal, but that was another person deep inside, another person who had no access to the lips and face and mouth and head, so on the surface I just shrugged and smile and kept moving. If I could have physically passed away, just let it all go, like that, without doing anything, stepped out of life as easily as walking through a door I would have done. But I was going to sleep at night and waking in the morning, disappointed to be there and resigned to existence.
A nice, easy place for freedom of speech to be eroded is comics, because comics are a natural target whenever an election comes up.
Firstly, there no such person as Death.
Second, Death's this tall guy with a bone face, like a skeletal monk, with a scythe and an hourglass and a big white horse and a penchant for playing chess with Scandinavians.
Third, he doesn't exist either.
Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at the stars because we are human?
When you're scared but you still do it anyway, that's brave.
Shadow turned, slowly, streaming images of himself as he moved, frozen moments, each him captured in a fraction of a second, every tiny movement lasting for an infinite period. The images that reached his mind made no sense: it was like seeing the world through the multifaceted jewelled eyes of a dragonfly, but each facet saw something completely different, and he was unable to combine the things he was seeing, or thought he was seeing, into a whole that made any sense.
Approaching the state of Delaware, the dreamer is a small dog, dreaming impatiently of a past life, long forgotten, when he sailed tall ships across uncharted. The salt spray of the ocean stings my face.
It occurred to me then that the man might not be mad; I found this far more disquieting than the alternative.
Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot.
Writing imaginative tales for the young is like sending coals to Newcastle. For coals.
I loved writing a book in which, in some ways, it's very, very classical, and in some ways I'm breaking lots of rules about what you can do and what you can't do.
Whatever happened to me in my life, happened to me as a writer of plays. I'd fall in love, or fall in lust. And at the height of my passion, I would think, 'So this is how it feels,' and I would tie it up in pretty words. I watched my life as if it were happening to someone else. My son died. And I was hurt, but I watched my hurt, and even relished it, a little, for now I could write a real death, a true loss. My heart was broken by my dark lady, and I wept, in my room, alone; but while I wept, somewhere inside I smiled. For I knew I could take my broken heart and place it on the stage of The Globe, and make the pit cry tears of their own.
I like comic conventions. I genuinely like comic conventions. I like wandering around from table to table; I like wandering up and down Artist's Alley and saying "Hello" to people. I like hanging out on the DC booth. I can't do that anymore. I'd like to, but I can't. I physically can't. If I stop moving, somebody will come up to me with something to sign, and if I sign it, somehow it's like ants sensing sugar. There will be fifty or a hundred people around me and then fire marshals will come and then I'm trapped in a crowd. It's bizarre.
Do the stuff that only you can do. The urge, starting out, is to copy. And that's not a bad thing. Most of us only find our own voices after we've sounded like a lot of other people. But the one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you're walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That's the moment you may be starting to get it right.
There was Virginia Boote, the food and restaurant critic, who had once been a great beauty but was now a grand and magnificent ruin, and who delighted in her ruination.
She sat down on one of her grandmother's uncomfortable armchairs, and the cat sprang up into her lap and made itself comfortable. The light that came through the picture window was daylight, real golden late-afternoon daylight, not a white mist light. The sky was a robin's-egg blue, and Coraline could see trees and, beyond the trees, green hills, which faded on the horizon into purples and grays. The sky had never seemed so sky, the world had never seemed so world ... Nothing, she thought, had ever been so interesting.
When writing a novel, that's pretty much entirely what life turns into: 'House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.
The short story is still like the novel's wayward younger brother, we know that it's not respectable -- but I think that can also add to the glory of it.
You do your own time in prison. You don't do anyone else's time for them.
You are not dead, until every person who knew you is dead as well." Where did I hear that? It doesn't matter. There is a village in my head.
You see, until then I'd been driven. I'd had a true quest, a purpose beyond my function -- and then suddenly, the quest was over.
I felt... drained. Disappointed. Let down. Does that make sense? I had been sure that as soon as I had everything back I'd feel good. But inside I felt worse than when I stared.
I loved that place as if it was a part of me, and perhaps, in some ways, it was.
Birds are the last of the dinosaurs. Tiny velociraptors with wings. Devouring defenseless wiggly things and, and nuts, and fish, and, and other birds. They get the early worms. And have you ever watched a chicken eat? They may look innocent, but birds are, well, they're vicious.
Have you ever had one of those days when something just seems to be trying to tell you somebody?
Stories are like spiders, with all they long legs, and stories are like spiderwebs, which man gets himself all tangled up in but which look pretty when you see them under a leaf in the morning dew, and in the elegant way that they connect to one another, each to each.
Instead we have to understand that even lost and forgotten myths are compost, in which stories grow.
Sometimes I suspect that we build our traps ourselves, then we back into them, pretending amazement the while.
I'm one of those writers who tends to be really good at making outlines and sticking to them. I'm very good at doing that, but I don't like it. It sort of takes a lot of the fun out.
The best way to show people true things is from a direction that they had not imagined the truth coming.
Why didn't adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and smugglers and dangerous fairies?
Richard had no idea who he was, any more; no idea what was or what was not true; nor whether he was brave or cowardly, mad or sane, but he knew the next thing he had to do. He stepped on to the train,and all the lights went out.
There was a tale he had read once, long ago, as a small boy: the story of a traveler who had slipped down a cliff, with man-eating tigers above him and a lethal fall below him, who managed to stop his fall halfway down the side of the cliff, holding on for dear life. There was a clump of strawberries beside him, and certain death above him and below. What should he do? went the question. And the reply was, Eat the strawberries. The story had never made sense to him as a boy. It did now.
Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you'd most like not to lose.
You can buy a book new, buy it in hardback or wait for the paperback, find it used or as a collectible. I don't mind. What I care about most is that people are reading.
You must have a bladder like Lake Erie. I think empires rose and fell in the time it took you to pee. I could hear it the whole time." Thank you. Do you want something?
The boy had the towering arrogance only seen in the greatest of artists and all nine-year-old boys.
Minnesota, Wisconsin, all around there... has the kind of women I liked when I was younger. Pale-skinned and blue-eyed, hair so fair it's almost white, wine-colored lips, and round, full breasts with the veins running through them like a good cheese.
It's not sipping wine. It's a mourning wine. You drain it. Like this.
Behind the curtain's mystic fold The glowing future lies unrolled.
Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
There are new gods growing in America, clinging to growing knots of belief: gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon. Proud gods, fat and foolish creatures, puffed up with their own newness and importance. "They are aware of us, they fear us, and they hate us," said Odin. "You are fooling yourselves if you believe otherwise.
Nice' in a bodyguard is about as useful as the ability to regurgitate whole lobsters.
I want to go home. Then he mentally underlined the last sentence three times, rewrote it in huge letters in red ink, and circled it before putting a number of exclamation marks next to it in his mental margin.
Because, if one is writing novels today, concentrating on the beauty of the prose is right up there with concentrating on your semi-colons, for wasted effort.
I think I'll dismember the world and then I'll dance in the wreckage.
Oh. I didn't know you could stop being a god.
You can stop being anything.
We have the right, and the obligation, to tell old stories in our own ways, because they are our stories.
One of the dwarfs walked in front of Thor to get a better view of the prye, and Thor kicked him irritably into the middle of the flames, which made Thor feel slightly better and made all the dwarfs feel much worse.
People believe, thought Shadow. It's what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghost, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.
Everything in journalism is about the detail that makes the whole, the attempts to reproduce speech patterns while not actually quoting the whole thing the person said.
We often confuse what we wish for with what is.
I remember when it was all done in first draft telling Gene Wolfe, who is the wisest writer I know and has written more excellent novels than any man I've met, that I thought I had now learned how to write a novel. Gene looked at me, and smiled kindly. "You never learn how to write a novel," he told me. "You only learn to write the novel you're on.
In a world where people die every day, I think the important thing to remember is that for each moment of sorrow we get when people leave this world there's a corresponding moment of joy when a new baby comes into this world. That first wail is-well, it's magic, isn't it? Perhaps it's a hard thing to say, but joy and sorrow are like milk and cookies. That's how well they go together. I think we should all take a moment to meditate on that.
Libraries are our friends.
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can."
Keynote Address, University of the Arts, 134th Commencement (Philadelphia, PA, May 17, 2012).
Like some kind of particularly tenacious vampire the short story refuses to die, and seems at this point in time to be a wonderful length for our generation.
There aren't any good guys, and there aren't any bad guys. There's just us. People. Doing our best to get by.
Imagine a mosaic picture of a house in the country: lots of red and blue and yellow and black and brown and white and a dozen different shades of green tiles which make a beautiful picture if you stand back far enough. All the little red squares are true -- true things, true places, true feelings. But the red squares aren't the picture. All the rest of it is lies and stories, often within the same sentence.
I found English to be a sort of Thomas Hardy aversion therapy.
The comic convention itself tends to come second to the giant announcements in Hall H and the movies and the TV. So I think it's always good to remind people that there is a wonderful comic convention going on.
I spent much of my time reminding Matt Groening that I really need to be a head in a jar on Futurama.
I am a Hound of God. I travel my own road, into Hell and out of it.
Lucifer protests he was never to blame for inducing anyone to sin, and that he's never had an interest in owning souls: 'They die, and they come here -- having transgressed against what they believed to be right -- and expect us to fulfill their desire for pain and retribution. I don't make them come here… I need no souls. And how can anyone own a soul? No, they belong to themselves. They just hate to have to face up to it.
I love making things. I love building things. I love the idea that something's in the world that wasn't there before.
It's more than saying sorry. It's meaning it. It's letting the apology change things. But an apology is where it has to begin.
People named Tinkerbell name their daughters Susan.
The future had suddenly become unknowable: anything could happen: the train of my life had jumped the rails and headed off across the fields and coming down the lane with me, then.
And I thought, eight years ago, when I began carefully charting the progress of American Gods, nervously dipping my toes into the waters of blogging, would I have imagined a future in which, instead of recording the vicissitudes of bringing a book into the world, I would be writing about not-even-interestingly missing cups of cold camomile tea? And I thought, yup. Sounds about right. Happy Eighth birthday, blog.
We build a shell around it, like an oyster dealing with a painful particle of grit, coating it with smooth pearl layers in order to cope. This is how we walk and talk and function , day in, day out. Immune to others' pain and loss.
It is astonishing just how much of what we are can be tied to the beds we wake up in in the morning, and it is astonishing how fragile that can be.
Life and death are different sides of the same coin.
And if there's a moral there, I don't know what it is, save maybe that we should take our goodbyes whenever we can.
The best advice I can give on this is, once it's done, to put it away until you can read it with new eyes. Finish the short story, print it out, then put it in a drawer and write other things. When you're ready, pick it up and read it, as if you've never read it before. If there are things you aren't satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that's revision.
It seems to me that one of the most interesting things about God as a concept, if you decide to believe in God, is that God's ways are unknowable. And God obviously, look at the world around you, does or is responsible for some terrible, terrible, awful things. A young girl kidnapped and kept in the darkness and sexually abused. The deaths of six million Jews. A mudslide that buries a village. All of these things. If God is doing the good stuff, he's got to be doing that stuff too.
Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.
If there's one thing that a study of history has taught us, it is that things can always get worse.
Rule number one: Don't fuck with librarians.
You attend the funeral, you bid the dead farewell. You grieve. Then you continue with your life. And at times the fact of her absence will hit you like a blow to the chest, and you will weep. But this will happen less and less as time goes on. She is dead. You are alive. So live.
Richard wrote a diary entry in his head.
Dear Diary, he began. On Friday I had a job, a fiancée, a home, and a life that made sense. (Well, as much as any life makes sense). Then I found an injured girl bleeding on the pavement, and I tried to be a Good Samaritan. Now I've got no fiancée, no home, no job, and I'm walking around a couple of hundred feet under the streets of London with the projected life expectancy of a suicidal fruitfly.
Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkable difficult to kill.
And all the ghouls around the coffin-wood fire howled at this statement, and growled and sang and exclaimed at how wise they were, and how mighty, and how fine it was to be scared of nothing.
I have never written a musical. I have never written a weird, interactive piece of theater. I wanted to do something that would be disturbing. It will be disturbing theater with songs. There will be no people on wires. That's probably the next one of those things on my bucket list of things that I need to write before I get hit by that car.
The really important thing to be was yourself, just as hard as you could.
I am not in my gallery and neither do I hold your sigil. Will you speak to me?
The irritating question they ask us -- us being writers -- is: "Where do you get your ideas?"
And the answer is: Confluence. Things come together. The right ingredients and suddenly: Abracadabra!
Sometimes I think that ideas float through the atmosphere like huge squishy pumpkins, waiting for heads to drop on.
I move from dreamer to dreamer, from dream to dream, hunting for what I need. Slipping and sliding and flickering through the dreams; and the dreamer will wake, and wonder why this dream seemed different, wonder how real their lives can truly be.
Loyalty was a great thing, but no lieutenants should be forced to choose between their leader and a circus with elephants.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
B is for boat, pushing off into the dark. C is the way that we find and we look. D is for diamonds, the bait on the hook.
Librarians are the coolest people out there doing the hardest job out there on the frontlines. And every time I get to encounter or work with librarians, I'm always impressed by their sheer awesomeness.
George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.
Sometimes the way to do what you hope to do will be clear cut, and sometimes it will be almost impossible to decide whether or not you are doing the correct thing, because you'll have to balance your goals and hopes with feeding yourself, paying debts, finding work, settling for what you can get.
Really, he thought, if you couldn't trust a poet to offer sensible advice, who could you trust?
I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens: as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, more than 20 years before the Kindle showed up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is. Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar-operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there wil always be a place for them.
When I was four I believed everything, accepted everything, and was scared of nothing. Now I was eight, and I believed in what I could see and was scared of anything I couldn't. Scared of things in the darkness, of things invisible to see.
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, do it.
The converse held reassuringly true: daylight was safe. Daylight was always safe.
I told you I would tell you my names. This is what they call me. I'm called Glad-of-War, Grim, Raider, and Third. I am One-Eyed. I am called Highest, and True-Guesser. I am Grimnir, and I am the Hooded One. I am All-Father, and I am Gondlir Wand-Bearer. I have as many names as there are winds, as many titles as there are ways to die. My ravens are Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory; my wolves are Freki and Geri; my horse is the gallows.
Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.
It's harder to pick and choose when you're dead. It's like a photograph, you know. It doesn't matter as much.
It's not what I'd want for at my funeral. When I die, I just want them to plant me somewhere warm. And then when the pretty women walk over my grave I would grab their ankles, like in that movie.
Oh, monsters are scared. That's why they're monsters.
The great thing about Batman and Superman, in truth, is that they are literally transcendent. They are better than most of the stories they are in.
The cafe door opened. A young man in dusty white leathers entered, and the wind blew in empty crisp packets and newspapers and ice cream wrappers in with him. They danced around his feet like excited children, then fell exhausted to the floor.
I never fell. I don't care what they say. I'm still doing my job, as I see it.
She seems so cool, so focused, so quiet, yet her eyes remain fixed upon the horizon. You think you know all there is to know about her immediately upon meeting her, but everything you think you know is wrong. Passion flows through her like a river of blood.
She only looked away for a moment, and the mask slipped, and you fell. All your tomorrows start here.
Oh, tweeting prolifically is the most easy thing in the world. Tweeting prolifically is like somebody saying, 'Boy, you're a really good walker around,' you know. It's not really hard.
Beyond that -- don't ever apologise to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that's what they're there for. Use your library). Don't apologise to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend's copy. What's important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read.
M is for magic. All the letters are, if you put them together properly. You can make magic with them, and dreams, and, I hope, even a few surprises.
Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over. There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long outlasted the cultures and the buildings in which they were first told.
I once read that you die because you see the Angel of Death, and you fall in love. And you fall in love so hard your soul is sucked out through your eyes, and that's the moment of death. It's a lovely, strange old Jewish legend.
Everything here is so weak, little girl. Everything breaks so easily. They want such simple things.
There may be a parallel between woodcuts and radio; radio plays are a living art form everywhere except the USA.
I see libraries and librarians as frontline soldiers in the war against illiteracy and the lack of imagination.
A world in which there are monsters, and ghosts, and things that want to steal your heart is a world in which there are angels, and dreams and a world in which there is hope.
I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck... I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.
That's the trouble with you young people. You think because you ain't been here long, you know everything. In my life I already forgot more than you ever know.
The biggest pitfall to avoid is not writing. Not writing is really, really easy to do, especially if you're a young writer. The hope that elves will come in the night and finish it for you, is a very common one to have. That is my main recommendation -- you have to write, and you have to finish what you write and beyond that, it's all detail.
I have world class photographic red-eye pretty much all the time. As a general rule, if it's taken with a flash, I look like I am possessed by the blazing forces of darkness, at least in the eye department.
I think all geniuses -- or the ones thet I've run into -- tend to have a faintly tenuous relationship with the real world, because so much is going on on the inside. They may be geniuses but they often need someone to walk around holding a string. They're sort of balloons, bobbing around.
Dream! Dreams shape the world. Dreams create the world anew, every night. Do not dream the world the way it is now, in thrall to our feline masters and mistresses.
So, you figure they won't notice you're back?" sneered the marquis. "Just, 'oh look, there's another angel, here, grab a harp and on with the hosannas'?
We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves.
You get work however you get work. People keep working, in a freelance world, and more and more of today's world is freelance, because their work is good, and because they are easy to get along with, and because they deliver the work on time. And you don't even need all three. Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. They'll forgive the lateness of the work if it's good, and if they like you. And you don't have to be as good as the others if you're on time and it's always a pleasure to hear from you.
I was a voracious reader and I could never understand why comics were of any less merit or importance than any other way of writing. I think the thing that keeps me with comics is there's still so much to be done. There's still this huge unplowed field, this huge unexplored wilderness, and as long as I can keep doing new things and coming up with new things, I will.
Freedom to write, freedom to read, freedom to own material that you believe is worth defending means you're going to have to stand up for stuff you don't believe is worth defending, even stuff you find actively distasteful, because laws are big blunt instruments that do not differentiate between what you like and what you don't, because prosecutors are humans and bear grudges and fight for re-election, because one person's obscenity is another person's art.
Because if you don't stand up for the stuff you don't like, when they come for the stuff you do like, you've already lost.
'Doctor Who' was the first mythology that I learned, before ever I ran into Greek or Roman or Egyptian mythologies.
It's too late for sorries, but I appreciate the sentiment.
It's a given that we exist in a world where we have to live in continuity every day; no one is immune to that, in life or romance novels. By the same token, it's not something I find terribly important.
Writers may be solitary but they also tend to flock together: they like being solitary together.
Normally, in anything I do, I'm fairly miserable. I do it, and I get grumpy because there is a huge, vast gulf, this aching disparity, between the platonic ideal of the project that was living in my head, and the small, sad, wizened, shaking, squeaking thing that I actually produce.
They talk of me going around buying souls, like a fishwife come market day, never stopping to ask themselves why. I need no souls. And how can anyone own a soul? No. They belong to themselves...they just hate to face up to it.
But that's how it goes; you think you're on top of the world, and suddenly they spring Armageddon on you.
We look about in puzzlement at our world, with a sense of unease and disquiet. We think of ourselves as scholars in arcane liturgies, single men trapped in worlds beyond our devising. The truth is far simpler: there are things in the darkness beneath us that wish us harm.
Nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience.
There are little pockets of old time in London, where things and places stay the same, like bubble in amber.
The future came and went in the mildly discouraging way that futures do.
I hope that this year, you make mistakes. If you do, then it means you have tried, learned, lived, pushed yourself, changed you and your world, and most importantly, you've done something.
You don't have to test everything to destruction just to see if you made it right.
It occurs to me that the peculiarity of most things we think of as fragile is how tough they truly are. There were tricks we did with eggs, as children, to show how they were, in reality, tiny load-bearing marble halls; while the beat of the wings of a butterfly in the right place, we are told, can create a hurricane across an ocean. Hearts may break, but hearts are the toughest of muscles, able to pump for a lifetime, seventy times a minute, and scarcely falter along the way. Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkable difficult to kill.
Everything has to be intrinsic plot-wise in the same way, to use the Linda Williams analogy but to move it on a bit, as musicals -- in old musicals, like in an old Cole Porter musical, you get the action, then they do a song, which reflects a moment -- everything stops while that is being sung -- and then you restart. These days in most musicals, the plot keeps moving through the song. I think it would be nice if someone constructed some pornography where the sex continues to propel you through the story.
A god's relationship to the world, even a world in which he was walking, was about as emotionally connected as that of a computer gamer playing with knowledge of the overall shape of the game and armed with a complete set of cheat codes.
Don't ever apologise to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that's what they're there for. Use your library). Don't apologise to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend's copy. What's important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read.
If I could talk about it, I would not have to do it.
Scissors! Scissors! Have ye got yer ane scissors? Are ye deaf?
If people are standing up there saying, my football team just won with help from God, then obviously God just pissed over the other team.
There was a smile dancing on his lips, although it was a wary smile, for the world is a bigger place than a little graveyard on a hill; and there would be dangers in it and mysteries, new friends to make, old friends to rediscover, mistakes to be made and many paths to be walked before he would, finally, return to the graveyard or ride with the Lady on the broad back of her great grey stallion.
Five girls sat beside, and upon the branches of, the oldest apple tree in the orchard, its huge trunk making a fine seat and support; and whenever the May breeze blew, the pink blossoms tumbled down like snow, coming to rest in their hair and on their skirts. The afternoon sunlight dappled green and silver and gold through the leaves in the apple orchard.
Shadow could not decide whether he was looking at a moon the size of a dollar, a foot above his head, or whether he was looking at a moon the size of the Pacific Ocean, many thousands of miles away. Nor whether there was any difference between the two ideas. Perhaps it was all a matter of the way you looked at it.
There is a madness, yes, this is true. Few mortals possess it, the willingness to step away from the protection of sanity. To walk into the wild wood of madness.
There was the kind of silence there might have been on the day before Creation.
Adam stood smiling at the two of them, a small figure perfectly poised exactly between Heaven and Hell. Crowley grabbed Aziraphale's arm. "You know what happened?" he hissed excitedly. "He was left alone! He grew up human! He's not Evil Incarnate or Good Incarnate, he's just...a human incarnate.
When things go wrong, this is what you should do. Make good art.
I wanted to shout down to him, to warn him that he was giving flowers to a monster, but I did not.
I've learned over the years that everything is more or less the same amount of work, so you may as well set your sights high and try and do something really cool.
A short story is the ultimate close-up magic trick -- a couple of thousand words to take you around the universe or break your heart.
Start telling the stories that only you can tell.
Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there'll always be better writers than you and there'll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that -- but you are the only you.
Tarantino -- you can criticize everything that Quentin does -- but nobody writes Tarantino stuff like Tarantino. He is the best Tarantino writer there is, and that was actually the thing that people responded to -- they're going ‘this is an individual writing with his own point of view'. There are better writers than me out there, there are smarter writers, there are people who can plot better -- there are all those kinds of things, but there's nobody who can write a Neil Gaiman story like I can.
So, yeah, my people figured that maybe there's something at the back of it all, a creator, a great spirit, and so we say thank you to it, because it's always good to say thank you. But we never built churches. We didn't need to. The land was the church. The land was the religion. The land was older and wiser than the people who walked on it.
Being a writer of fiction isn't like being a compulsive liar, honestly.
I think hell is something you carry around with you. Not somewhere you go.
With 'Stardust', I hope what I was doing is giving 30-year-olds and 40-year-olds and 25-year-olds and 60-year-olds a chance to get the same sense of wonder, the same feeling, the same magic, that they got in reading the classic fairy tales as children.
I will write in words of fire. I will write them on your skin. I will write about desire. Write beginnings, write of sin. You're the book I love the best, your skin only holds my truth, you will be a palimpsest lines of age rewriting youth. You will not burn upon the pyre. Or be buried on the shelf. You're my letter to desire: And you'll never read yourself. I will trace each word and comma As the final dusk descends, You're my tale of dreams and drama, Let us find out how it ends.
You can't trust other people. If it's important, you have to do it yourself.
There's none so blind as those who will not listen.
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.
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. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.
In this sorry world, the symbol is the thing.
The only people I ever get irritated with are the ones who announce, using my Twitter handle, that they are no longer following me and why.
And remember whatever discipline you're in, whether you're a musician or a photographer, fine artist or a cartoonist, writer, a dancer, a singer, a designer... whatever you do, you have a thing that's unique. You have the ability to make art.
It was not that he was feckless, more that he had simply not been around the day they handed out feck.
When you dream, sometimes you remember. When you wake, you always forget.
It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But a half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.
It does not matter where you come from, if you walk toward the truth you will reach it, whatever path you take.
There's a tale in the Caballa that suggests that the Angel of Death is so beautiful that upon seeing it (or him, or her) you fall in love so hard, so fast, that your soul is pulled out through your eyes. I like that story.
I came to the conclusion that in comedy, everybody gets what they need, whereas in horror, everybody gets what they deserve. I decided that at the end of the day, I was going to give everybody what they needed.
It was a perfectly normal gerbil. It appeared to be living in an exciting construction of cylinders, spheres and treadmills, such as the Spanish Inquisition would have devised if they'd had access to a plastics molding press.
I suspect that the next generation to come along will puzzle over our agonies, much as I puzzled over the death of the Victorian music halls as a child, and much as I felt sorry for the performers who had only needed thirteen minutes of material in their whole life, and who did their thirteen minutes in town after town until the day that television came along and killed it all.
We all not only could know everything. We do. We just tell ourselves we don't to make it all bearable.
Most people don't realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?
I watched my life as if it were happening to someone else. My son died. And I was hurt, but I watched my hurt, and even relished it, a little, for now I could write a real death, a true loss. My heart was broken by my dark lady, and I wept, in my room, alone; but while I wept, somewhere inside I smiled.
They all do the same things. They may think their sins are original, but for the most part they are petty and repetitive.
Rules and responsibilities: these are the ties that bind us. We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves. I will do what I have to do. And I will do what I must.
Looking back over a lifetime, you see that love was the answer to everything,' Ray said once, in an interview.
He gave people so many reasons to love him. We did. And, so far, we have not forgotten.
Suggestions? Put it aside for a few days, or longer, do other things, try not to think about it. Then sit down and read it (printouts are best I find, but that's just me) as if you've never seen it before. Start at the beginning. Scribble on the manuscript as you go if you see anything you want to change. And often, when you get to the end you'll be both enthusiastic about it and know what the next few words are. And you do it all one word at a time.
She decides to make a list of the things that make her happy. She writes 'plum-blossom' at the top of a piece of paper. Then she stares at the paper, unable to think of anything else. Eventually it begins to get dark.
Now there were stars overhead, hanging like frozen spears of light, stabbing the night sky.
It sounded like a piece of blackboard being dragged over the nails of a wall of severed fingers.
She had a face which was not so much freckled as one big freckle with occasional areas of skin.
If you want to imagine the future, imagine a boy and his dog and his friends. And a summer that never ends.
Honesty matters. Vulnerability matters. Being open about who you were at a moment in time when you were in a difficult or an impossible place matters more than anything.
Real life is rubbish at staying in genre boundaries.
If you dare nothing,
then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.
They were kissing. Put like that, and you could be forgiven for presuming that this was a normal kiss, all lips and skin and possibly even a little tongue. You'd miss how he smiled, how his eyes glowed. And then, after the kiss was done, how he stood, like a man who had just discovered the art of standing and had figured out how to do it better than anyone else who would ever come along.
Never trust a demon. He has a hundred motives for anything he does ... Ninety-nine of them, at least, are malevolent.
Omnia Mutantur, Nihil Interit. 'Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.
Why do they blame me for all their little failings? They use my name as if I spent my entire days sitting on their shoulders, forcing them to commits acts they would otherwise find repulsive. 'The devil made me do it.' I have never made one of them do anything. Never. They live their own tiny lives. I do not live their lives for them.
Black as night, sweet as sin.
Religions are, by definition, metaphors, after all: God is a dream, a hope, a woman, an ironist, a father, a city, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you -- even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all opposition.
They were having an argument as old and comfortable as an armchair, the kind of argument that no one ever really wins or loses but which can go on forever, if both parties are willing.
Agnes was the worst prophet that's ever existed. Because she was always right. That's why the book never sold.
The Sky was red, but not warm red of a sunset. This was an angry, glowering red, the colour of an infected wound.
I love mythic stuff. I love playing with gods, I love playing with myths. A lot of it has to do with that they're the basic places stories come from. They're the clay that you make the bricks out of.
You can always cheat an honest man, but it takes more work.
I don't know why people would want to have lunch with writers. I've eaten with writers. We have appalling table manners, and rarely say anything other than 'Pass the salt' or 'If you're not going to eat that, can I have it?'
The young man shivered. He rolled the stock themes of fantasy over in his mind: cars and stockbrokers and commuters, housewives and police, agony columns and commercials for soap, income tax and cheap restaurants, magazines and credit cards and streetlights and computers... 'It is escapism, true,' he said, aloud. 'But is not the highest impulse in mankind the urge toward freedom, the drive to escape?
Inside the pub, Richard's friends continued to celebrate his forthcoming departure with an enthusiasm that, to Richard, was beginning to border on the sinister.
I don't think that I've been in love as such
Although I liked a few folk pretty well Love must be vaster than my smiles or touch for brave men died and empires rose and fell For love, girls follow boys to foreign lands and men have followed women into hell In plays and poems someone understands there's something makes us more than blood and bone and more than biological demands For me love's like the wind, unseen, unknown I see the trees are bending where it's been I know that it leaves wreckage where it's blown I really don't know what "I love you" means I think it means "don't leave me here alone.
When I was a child, adults would tell me not to make things up, warning me of what would happen if I did. As far as I can tell so far, it seems to involve lots of foreign travel and not having to get up too early in the morning.
It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.
People believe, thought Shadow. It's what people do. They believe. And then they will not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjurations. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe: and it is that belief that rock-solid belief, that makes things happen.
Entropy and optimism: the twin forces that make the world go around.
Gentlemen, consider: of course the ancient Egyptians made beer cans; where else would they have kept their beer?
I don't necessarily think stories have functions any more than diamonds have functions, or the sky has a function... Stories exist. They keep us sane, I think. We tell each other stories, we believe stories. I love watching the slow rise of the urban legend. They're the stories that we use to explain ourselves to ourselves.
If writing a novel is a year's exile to a foreign country, writing a short story is a weekend spent somewhere exotic. They're much more like vacations, more exciting and different, and you're off.
Fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gifts of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over.
When I started out, there were a lot of things I knew I couldn't do, and a lot of things I only found out I couldn't do by going and doing it. And no-one was watching, and nobody cared.
One of the great things about humor is, you can slip things past people with humor, you can use it as a sweetener. So you can actually tell them things, give them messages, get terribly, terribly serious and terribly, terribly dark, and because there are jokes in there, they'll go along with you, and they'll travel a lot further along with you than they would otherwise.
Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.
Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child's love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian "improving" literature. You'll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.
Leave no stone unturned. Deeply explore the beauty of your life.
I think you're doing better than you were the last time we saw you. You're growing a new heart, for a start.
Take what you have learned, and move on.
The ideas aren't that important. Really they aren't. Everyone's got an idea for a book, a movie, a story, a TV series.
Joy and sorrow are like milk and cookies. That's how well they go together.
Often you will discover that the harder you work, and the more wisely you work, the luckier you get. But there is luck, and it helps.
You can't run away from home without destroying somebody's world.
What power would Hell have if those imprisoned were not able to dream of Heaven?
The quickest way is sometimes the longest.
Going off the grid is always good for me. It's the way that I've started books and finished books and gotten myself out of deadline dooms and things.
I'm sure there's an alternate universe where I got to become a pulpy science fiction writer.
Anyone who believes what a cat tells him deserves all he gets.
Set your fantasies in the here and now and then, if challenged, claim to be writing Magical Realism.
Sometimes life is hard. Things go wrong--in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: make good art... Someone on the internet thinks what you're doing is stupid or evil or it's all been done before: make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and it doesn't even matter. Do what only you can do best: make good art.
Names, names, names... The names are the first things to go.
In many ways, it was much, much harder to get the first book contract. The hardest thing probably overall has been learning not to trust people, publicists and so forth, implicitly.
Sister Mary chose that moment to come in with the tea. Satanist or not, she'd also found a plate and arranged some iced biscuits on it.
Let her tell stories and dance in the rain, somersault, tumble and run, her joys must be high as her sorrows are deep, let her grow like a weed in the sun.
There are people who think that things that happen in fiction do not really happen. These people are wrong.
She was the storm, she was the lightning.
There are only two worlds -- your world, which is the real world, and other worlds, the fantasy. Worlds like this are worlds of the human imagination: their reality, or lack of reality, is not important. What is important is that they are there. these worlds provide an alternative. Provide an escape. Provide a threat. Provide a dream, and power; provide refuge, and pain. They give your world meaning. They do not exist; and thus they are all that matters.
Oh, monsters are scared', said Lettie. 'And as for grown-ups...' She stopped talking, rubbed her freckled nose with a finger. Then, 'I'm going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.'
... We sat there, side by side, on the old wooden bench, not saying anything. I thought about adults. I wondered if that was true: if they were all really children wrapped in adult bodies, like children's books hidden in the middle of dull, long books. The kind with no pictures or conversations.
Some things are too big to be seen; some emotions are too huge to be felt.
Be hole, be dust, be dream, be wind Be night, be dark, be wish, be mind, Now slip, now slide, now move unseen, Above, beneath, betwixt, between.
It's certainly not too late to change to the winning side. But you know, you also have the freedom to stay just where you are. That's what it means to be an American. That's the miracle of America. Freedom to believe means the freedom to believe the wrong thing, after all. Just as freedom of speech gives you the right to stay silent.
Door folded her arms, and stood taller, putting her head back, raising her pointed chin. She looked less like a ragged street-pixie; more like someone used to getting her own way.
What need, Dunstan wondered, could someone have of the storm-filled eggshells?
The world seemed to shimmer a little at the edges.
Everything he had ever done that had been better left undone. Every lie he had told -- told to himself, or told to others. Every little hurt, and all the great hurts. Each one was pulled out of him, detail by detail, inch by inch. The demon stripped away the cover of forgetfulness, stripped everything down to truth, and it hurt more than anything.
It was as if some people believed there was a divide between the books that you were permitted to enjoy and the books that were good for you, and I was expected to choose sides. We were all expected to choose sides. And I didn't believe it, and I still don't.
I was, and still am, on the side of books you love.
Ursula Monkton smiled, and the lightnings wreathed and writhed about her. She was power incarnate, standing in the crackling air. She was the storm, she was the lightning, she was the adult world with all its power and all its secrets and all its foolish casual cruelty.
That's sexism, that is. Going around giving people girly presents just because they're a girl.
I could be blindfolded and dropped into the deepest ocean and I would know where to find you. I could be buried a hundred miles underground and I would know where you are.
That's the joy of myths. The fun comes in telling them yourself--something I warmly encourage you to do, you person reading this. Read the stories in this book, then make them your own, and on some dark and icy winter's evening, or on a summer night when the sun will not set, tell your friends what happened when Thor's hammer was stolen, or how Odin obtained the mead of poetry for the gods.
The squirrel has not yet found the acorn that will grow into the oak that will be cut to form the cradle of the babe that will grow to slay me.
If you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up.
The parameters are the things you bounce off of to create art.
You're always you, and that don't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it.
And then, in a skittering, chittering rush, it came. The hand, running high on its fingertips, scrabbled through the tall grass and up onto a tree stump. It stood there for a moment, like crab tasting the air, and then it made one triumphant, nail-clacking leap onto the center of the tablecloth.
Time slowed for Coraline. The white fingers closed around the black key..
There were dozens of stones of all sizes in the small meadow. Tall stones, bigger than either of the boys, and small ones, just the right size for sitting on. There were some broken stones. The Runt knew what sort of place this was, but it did not scare him. It was a loved place.
The TV's the altar. I'm what people are sacrificing to.' 'What do they sacrifice?' asked Shadow. 'Their time, mostly,' said Lucy. 'Sometimes each other.
Reading is important.
Books are important. Librarians are important. (Also, libraries are not child-care facilities, but sometimes feral children raise themselves among the stacks.).
Love isn't quite desire... Love is probably a little bit in The Sandman's domain. Love is partly a dream, it's partly to do with desire, and sometimes it's partly to do with death, as well. It's also very often something to do with delirium.
If you're making mistakes it means you're out there doing something.
You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it.
Words can be worrisome, people complex, motives and manners unclear, grant her the wisdom to choose her path right, free from unkindness and fear.
Work. Home. The pub. Meeting girls. Living in the city. Life. Is that all there is?
Writers are liars my dear, surely you know that by now?
Biting's excellent. It's like kissing -- only there is a winner.
Richard opened his hand, and the key stared up at him from his palm. "By my crooked teeth," asked Richard, remembering, "who am I?
Perhaps this is the ultimate freedom, eh, Dreamlord? The freedom to leave.
I like the stars. It's the illusion of permanence, I think. I mean, they're always flaring up and caving in and going out. But from here, I can pretend... I can pretend that things last.
And then he'd tried to become an official Atheist and hadn't got the rock-hard self-satisfied strength of belief even for that.
Every lover is, in his heart, a madman, and, in his head, a minstrel.
People talk about escapism as if it's a bad thing... Once you've escaped, once you come back, the world is not the same as when you left it. You come back to it with skills, weapons, knowledge you didn't have before. Then you are better equipped to deal with your current reality.
Continuity isn't actually something that I ever worry about. You use it where you need to, and you don't use it where you don't need to.
Some people have great ideas maybe once or twice in their life, and then they discover electricity or fire or outer space or something. I mean, the kind of brilliant ideas that change the whole world.
Some people never have them at all... I get them two or three times a week.
Pain shared, my brother, is pain not doubled but halved. No man is an island.
In a perfect world, you could fuck people without giving them a piece of your heart. And every glittering kiss and every touch of flesh is another shard of heart you'll never see again.
Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.
I'm English, and 'Doctor Who' was this thing that I've been watching since I was three.
And then this whole deal of new gods, old gods," said his friend. "You ask me, I welcome new gods. Bring the on. The god of guns. The god of bombs. All the gods of ignorance and intolerance, of self-righteousness, idiocy and blame. All the stuff they try and land me with. Take a lot of the weight off my shoulders.
When angels go bad they are worse than anyone else. Remember Lucifer used to be an angel.
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
As a teenager I wrote to R.A. Lafferty. And he responded, too, with letters that were like R.A. Lafferty short stories, filled with elliptical answers to straight questions and simple answers to complicated ones.
There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.
When I was young, I was reading anything and anything I could lay my hands on. I was a veracious-to-the-point-of-insane reader.
I personally have a great deal of respect for readers. I have a great deal of respect for the human race. I think most people can tell the difference between fiction and fact. I think that the action of writing about something does not condone it. The best thing I can ever hope to do is provide good questions, and I think I do that. I hope I do.
Each insult is woven with just enough truth to make it wound.
It was made of only one kind of bone, he realized, repeated over and over. Each of the bones was dry and ball-like. He imagined that they might be the eggshells of some huge bird. But another flare of lightning told him differently: they had holes for eyes, and they had teeth, which grinned without humor.
I want to write a play. I'd like to do an original musical. I should probably put together a poetry collection.
I was a reader. I loved reading. Reading things gave me pleasure. I was very good at most subjects in school, not because I had any particular aptitude in them, but because normally on the first day of school they'd hand out schoolbooks, and I'd read them -- which would mean that I'd know what was coming up, because I'd read it.
By March, the worst of the winter would be over. The snow would thaw, the rivers begin to run and the world would wake into itself again.
Not that year. Winter hung in there, like an invalid refusing to die. Day after grey day the ice stayed hard; the world remained unfriendly and cold.
Everybody who has ever read Sandman knows exactly what the Sandman looks like, which is more than anybody who has ever read The Catcher in the Rye can say about Holden Caufield.
The cartoon me writes the books cartoon people read in the cartoon world, because they need things to read there too.
Classic authors should be older than I am, and wiser, and on-top of all their deadlines.
My wife, Amanda, is terribly good at warping reality. She is like a bowling ball on a rubber sheet, and you find yourself living in her universe, doing things that are completely unexpected or unimaginable for you, but you blink and you're up on a stage singing, or wearing a peculiar wig, or writing a book filled with feelings and emotion, or doing something equally as unlikely.
Don't confuse the teacher with the lesson, the ritual with the ecstasy, the transmitter of the symbol with the symbol itself.
Oh- my twitchy witchy girl I think you are so nice, I give you bowls of porridge And I give you bowls of ice Cream. I give you lots of kisses, And I give lots of hugs, But I never give you sandwiches With bugs In.
However you must have sensed a lurking 'but' skulking beneath my happy, blithe, and chipper exterior. A minuscule vexation, like the teeniest lump of raw liver sticking to the inside of my boot.
I have a brother. They say, you put us together, we are like one person, you know? When we are young, his hair, it is very blond, very light, and people say, he is the good one. And my hair it is very dark, darker than yours even, and people say I am the rogue, you know? I am the bad one. And now time passes, and my hair is gray. His hair too, I think, is gray. And you look at us, you would not know who was light, who was dark.
She had the feeling that the door was looking at her, which she knew was silly, and knew on a deeper level was somehow true.
I believe that anyone who claims to know what's going on will lie about the little things too.
The stuff you bring back from dreams is free.
There are a number of paths that lead to this place. I have been avoiding them for some small time, now.
After that he had more or less stopped reading. You could not trust fiction. What good were books, if they couldn't protect you from something like that?
Anyone who calls you "little lady" has already excluded you from the set of people worth listening to.
Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
Richard began to understand darkness: darkness as something solid and real, so much more than a simple absence of light. He felt it touch his skin, questing, moving, exploring: gliding through his mind. It slipped into his lungs, behind his eyes, into his mouth.
Talk is free but the wise man chooses when to spend his words.
I was the kind of kid whose parents would drop him off at the local town library on their way to work, and I'd go and work my way through the children's area.
I don't think there is such a thing as a bad book for children.
But he did not understand the price. Mortals never do. They only see the prize, their heart's desire, their dream... But the price of getting what you want, is getting what you once wanted.
As far as I'm concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning.
People talk about books that write themselves, and it's a lie. Books don't write themselves. It takes thought and research and backache and notes and more time and more work than you'd believe.
I looked at the world of books and just went, Oh my gosh, if I'm writing novels, I'm on the same shelves as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and Petronius -- whereas with comics, they've only been doing them for a hundred years, and there's stuff that nobody's done before. I think I'll go off and do some of the stuff no one's ever done before.
When most people said "I'm psychic, you see," they meant "I have an overactive but unoriginal imagination wear black nail varnish talk to my budgie;" when Anathema said it, it sounded as though she was admitting to a hereditary disease which she'd much prefer not to have.
Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.
I have a really high tolerance level for twits. I really do.
It's not a bad thing for a writer not to feel at home. Writers -- we're much more comfortable at parties standing in the corner watching everybody else having a good time than we are mingling.
Impossible things happen. When they do happen, most people just deal with it. Today, like every day, roughly five thousand people on the face of the planet will experience one-chance-in-a-million things, and not one of them will refuse to believe the evidence of their senses.
There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar apart: first, Mr. Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr. Croup; second, Mr. Croup has eyes of a faded china blue, while Mr. Vandemar's eyes are brown; third, while Mr. Vandemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr. Croup has no obvious jewelery; fourth, Mr. Croup likes words, while Mr. Vandemar is always hungry. Also, they look nothing at all alike.
Nothing you do in the White House matters. You know why not? Because as far as the mass of voting morons is concerned, while you're in office, you'll still be the worst single president they've ever had until you stop. Then it's some other poor bastard's turn. And even that doesn't matter, because ten, twenty years later, they'll look back on you, and wonder why they didn't appreciate you when they had you...You don't get to make a difference. You don't get to do jack shit. You know what you get?...You get an entry in the history book, and every 15 minutes, every day at Disneyworld, an animatronic puppet wearing your face will wave or nod when the spotlight hits it.
If you make art, people will talk about it. Some of the things they say will be nice, some won't. You'll already have made that art, and when they're talking about the last thing you did, you should already be making the next thing.
If bad reviews (of whatever kind) upset you, just don't read them. It's not like you've signed an agreement with the person buying the book to exchange your book for their opinion. Do whatever you have to do to keep making art. I know people who love bad reviews, because it means they've made something happen and made people talk; I know people who have never read any of their reviews. It's their call. You get on with making art.
Everybody going to be dead one day, just give them time.
If you only write when inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you'll never be a novelist.
All we have to believe with is our senses, the tools we use to perceive the world: our sight, our touch, our memory. If they lie to us, then nothing can be trusted. And even if we do not believe, then still we cannot travel in any other way than the road our senses show us; and we must walk that road to the end.
When I was 7, my proudest possession would have been my bookshelf 'cause I had alphabetized all of the books on my bookshelf.
There are a hundred things she has tried to chase away the things she won't remember and that she can't even let herself think about because that's when the birds scream and the worms crawl and somewhere in her mind it's always raining a slow and endless drizzle.
You will hear that she has left the country, that there was a gift she wanted you to have, but it is lost before it reaches you. Late one night the telephone will sign, and a voice that might be hers will say something that you cannot interpret before the connection crackles and is broken. Several years later, from a taxi, you will see someone in a doorway who looks like her, but she will be gone by the time you persuade the driver to stop. You will never see her again. Whenever it rains you will think of her.
I would feel infinitely more comfortable in your presence if you would agree to treat gravity as a law, rather than one of a number of suggested options.
In reality the world is made of thousands of groups of about five hundred people, all of whom will spend their lives bumping into each other, trying to avoid each other, and discovering each other in the same unlikely teashop in Vancouver. There is an unavoidability to this process. It's not even coincidence. It's just the way the world works, with no regard for individuals or propriety.
And it came to him then, as clearly and as certainly as if he had been watching it on the big screen at the Odeon, Leicester Square: the rest of his life. He would go home tonight with the girl from Computer Services, and they would make gentle love, and tomorrow, it being Saturday, they would spend the morning in bed. And then they would get up, and together they would remove his possessions from the packing cases, and put them away. In a year, or a little less, he would marry the girl from Computer Services, and get another promotion, and they would have two children, a boy and a girl, and they would move out to the suburbs, to Harrow or Croydon or Hampstead or even as far away as distant Reading. And it would not be a bad life. He knew that, too. Sometimes there is nothing you can do.
You could fire a machine gun randomly through the pages of Lord of the Rings and never hit any women.
She was witchy, yes, and in charge of a cauldron roiling with ideas and stories, but she always gave the impression that the stories, the ones she wrote and wrote so very well and so wisely, had simply happened, and that all she had done was to hold the pen. (On Diana Wynne Jones).
For me, the glory of my first 25 years as a writer was I could put things off as long as I wanted.
Children, as I have said, use back ways and hidden paths, while adults take roads and official paths.
She took my hands in her, then, and squeezed them. 'But you stayed where you were meant to be, and you didn't listen to them. Well done. That's quality, that is,' and she sounded proud. In that moment I forgot my hunger and I forgot my fear.
This is a work of fiction. All the characters in it, human and otherwise, are imaginary, excepting only certain of the fairy folk, whom it might be unwise to offend by casting doubts on their existence. Or lack thereof.
It symbolizes a spear, and in this sorry world the symbol is the thing.
Writing fiction is not a profession that leaves one well-disposed toward reading fiction. One starts out loving books and stories, and then one becomes jaded and increasingly hard to please. I read less and less fiction these days, finding the buzz and the joy I used to get from fiction in ever stranger works of non-fiction, or poetry.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.
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.
As a kid, I would get my parents to drop me off at my local library on their way to work during the summer holidays, and I would walk home at night. For several years, I read the children's library until I finished the children's library. Then I moved into the adult library and slowly worked my way through them.
I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.
I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.
On the first day Coraline's family moved in, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible made a point of telling Coraline how dangerous the well was, and they warned her to be sure she kept away from it. So Coraline set off to explore for it, so that she knew where it was, to keep away from it properly.
I would not describe myself as a political writer except in the sense that the personal is political, which is something that I do strongly believe. And in that sense American Gods is a very personal novel and a political novel. I was trying to describe the experience of coming to America as an immigrant, the experience of watching the way that America tends to eat other cultures.
I imagine the world dividing into the people who want to feed their children, and the ones shooting at them.
Dreams shape the world.
Books are defensive, not offensive (unless you're the puzzled adult trying to make the kid with the book interact).
There is a proverbial saying chiefly concerned with warning against too closely calculating the numerical value of un-hatched chicks.
Once you've got to the end, and you know what happens, it's your job to make it look like you knew exactly what you were doing all along.
On the day the Gjallerhorn is blown, it will wake the gods, no matter where they are, no matter how deeply they sleep.
Heimdall will blow Gjallerhorn only once, at the end of all things, Ragnarok.
There is something about riding a unicorn, for those people who still can, which is unlike any other experience: exhilarating, and intoxicating, and fine.
Primus is certainly learning caution," said Secundus to his four other dead brothers.
"Well, you know what they say," whispered Quintus, in the wistful tones of the dead, which sounded, on that day, like the lapping of distant waves upon the shingle, "a man who is tired of looking over his shoulder for Septimus is tired of life.
I think radio plays are my favourite medium, as they make the listener work and create and contribute in a way that TV and film can never do, and they have an immediacy that written prose often lacks.
The cat dropped the rat between its two front paws. "There are those," it said with a sigh, in tones as smooth as oiled silk, "who have suggested that the tendency of a cat to play with its prey is a merciful one -- after all, it permits the occasional funny little running snack to escape, from time to time. How often does your dinner get to escape?
We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do the voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves. Use reading-aloud time as bonding time, as time when no phones are being checked, when the distractions of the world are put aside.
Stories are webs, interconnected strand to strand, and you follow each story to the center, because the center is the end. Each person is a strand of the story.
It's always too late for sorries, but I appreciate the sentiment.
The best thing about doing a signing tour is that numbers become faces. I got to sign books for six or seven thousand people, all of whom were dreadfully nice. Everything else, the interviews, the hotels, the plane travel, the best-seller lists, even the sushi, gets old awfully fast. Well, maybe not the sushi.
Have you thought about what it means to be a god?" asked the man. He had a beard and a baseball cap. "It means you give up your mortal existence to become a meme: something that lives forever in people's minds, like the tune of a nursery rhyme. It means that everyone gets to re-create you in their own minds. You barely have your own identity any more. Instead, you're a thousand aspects of what people need you to be. And everyone wants something different from you. Nothing is fixed, nothing is stable.
Can you believe it? Fifty miles from McDonald's. I didn't think there was anywhere in the world that was fifty miles from McDonald's.
Mr. Vandemar showed them his teeth, demonstrating his sunny and delightful disposition. It was unquestionably the most horrible thing Richard had ever seen.
I fought for America. My country. I protected America. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Democracy. Not something you people have seen much of yet. But it's worth fighting for.
The imagination is a muscle. If it is not exercised, it atrophies.
To be honest, I think love is complete bullshit. I don't think anyone ever loves anyone. I think the best people ever get is horny; horny and scared, so when they find someone who makes them horny, and they get too scared of the world outside, they stay together and they call it love.
We get to experience the same thing in very different ways with different parts of ourselves.
Ray Bradbury was not ahead of his time. He was perfectly of his time, and more than that: he created his time and left his mark on the time that followed.
Rattle his bones
over the stones its only a pauper who nobody owns.
Will eventually grow up and get a real job. Until then, will keep making things up and writing them down.
Anything electronic seemed fundamentally magical to Shadow, and liable to evaporate at any moment.
None of this can actually be happening. If it makes you more comfortable, you could simply think of it as metaphor. Religions are, by definition, metaphors, after all: God is a dream a hope, a woman, an ironist, a father, a city, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you -- even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all opposition.
Religions are places to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world.
I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places. If we read for pleasure, if others see us reading, then we learn, we exercise our imaginations. We show others that reading is a good thing.
I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places. If we read for pleasure, if others see us reading, then we learn, we exercise our imaginations. We show others that reading is a good thing."
The Guardian, 15 October 2013.
Most books on witchcraft will tell you that witches work naked. This is because most books on witchcraft were written by men.
I thought about adults. I wondered if that was true: if they were all really children wrapped in adult bodies.
Great, big, serious novels always get awards. If it's a battle between a great, big, serious novel and a funny novel, the funny novel is doomed.
The real problem with stories -- if you keep them going long enough, they always end in death.
After four days of flight, she had found a hiding place.
Touched by her fingers, the two surviving chocolate people copulate desperately, losing themselves in a melting frenzy of lust, spending the last of their brief borrowed lives in a spasm of raspberry cream and fear.
I was one those kids who had books on them. Before weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, funerals and anything else where you're actually meant to not be reading, my family would frisk me and take the book away. If they didn't find it by this point in the procedure, I would be sitting over in that corner completely unnoticed just reading my book.
Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.
I only have two kinds of dreams: the bad and the terrible. Bad dreams I can cope with. They're just nightmares, and the end eventually. I wake up. The terrible dreams are the good dreams. In my terrible dreams, everything is fine. I am still with the company. I still look like me. None of the last five years ever happened. Sometimes I'm married. Once I even had kids. I even knew their names. Everything's wonderful and normal and fine. And then I wake up, and I'm still me. And I'm still here. And that is truly terrible.
There are three things, and three things only, that can lift the pain of mortality and ease the ravages of life. These are wine, women and song.
Mind the gap!
Sleep my little baby-oh
Sleep until you waken When you wake you'll see the world If I'm not mistaken... Kiss a lover Dance a measure, Find your name And buried treasure... Face your life Its pain, Its pleasure, Leave no path untaken.
If it's true that every seven years each cell in your body dies and is replaced, then I have truly inherited my life from a dead man; and the misdeeds of those times have been forgiven, and are buried with his bones.
The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like.
When you say words a lot they don't mean anything. Or maybe they don't mean anything anyway, and we just think they do.
I realize I have stopped thinking about political divides, about freedom fighters or terrorists, about dictators and armies. I am thinking only of the fragility of civilization. The lives the refugees had were our lives: they owned corner shops and sold cars, they farmed or worked in factories or owned factories or sold insurance. None of them expected to be running for their lives, leaving everything they had because they had nothing to come back to, making smuggled border crossings, walking past the dismembered corpses of other people who had tried to make the crossing but had been caught or been betrayed.
You don't get heaven or hell. Do you know the only reward you get for being Batman? You get to be Batman.
You got to understand the god thing. It's not magic. It's about being you, but the you that people believe in. It's about being the concentrated, magnified, essence of you. It's about becoming thunder, or the power of a running horse, or wisdom. You take all the belief and become bigger, cooler, more than human. You crystallize." He paused. "And then one day they forget about you, and they don't believe in you, and they don't sacrifice, and they don't care, and the next thing you know you're running a three-card monte game on the corner of Broadway and Forty-third.
Friday's a free day. A woman's day.
My stuff gets published in some countries as fiction and in some countries as fantasy. It's just where they think it will do best in the bookshops.
If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future.
That which is dreamed can never be lost, can never be undreamed.
Call no man happy, said Shadow, until he is dead.
I opened my mouth to tell her that nothing could kill me, not now, but she said, 'Not kill you. Destroy you. Dissolve you. You wouldn't die in here, nothing ever dies in here, but if you stayed here for too long, after a while just a little of you would exist everywhere, all spread out. And that's not a good thing. Never enough of you all together in one place, so there wouldn't be anything left that would think of itself as an "I." No point of view any longer, because you'd be an infinite sequence of views and points.
And her eyes...Richard realised that he could not tell what colour her eyes were. They were not blue, or green, or brown, or grey; they reminded him of fire opals: there were burning greens and blues, and even reds and yellows that vanished and glinted as she moved.
Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.
My theory on genre is that while there are people out there who believe that genre tells people what to read, actually I believe that genre exists as a marketing tool to tell you what to avoid.
Because if you don't stand up for the stuff you don't like, when they come for the stuff you do like, you've already lost.
People seem to think that they can't come up with ideas, and they're wrong. They can and they do, but they just think of it as daydreaming, or wasting time. Kids get told not to make things up, and in my case, nobody told me long enough, or it just didn't stick.
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.
Do not lose hope -- what you seek will be found.
You have to believe. Otherwise, it will never happen.
The universe is amply supplied with night.
Some of us have resolved to escape into drunkenness before the sleep takes us.
I thought I was your destination. Looks like I was just another stop on the line.
Of course, everyone's parents are embarrassing. It goes with the territory. The nature of parents is to embarrass merely by existing, just as it is the nature of children of a certain age to cringe with embarrassment, shame, and mortification should their parents so much as speak to them on the street.
I wondered if that was true: if they were all really children wrapped up in adult bodies, like children's books hidden in the middle of dull, long adult books, the kind with no pictures or conversations.
Night was spreading slowly around the spinning Earth. It should have been full of pinpricks of light. It was not.
There were five billion people down there. What was going to happen soon would make barbarism look like a picnic -- hot, nasty, and eventually given over to the ants.
Until that moment she had never thought she could do it. Never thought she would be brave enough or scared enough, or desperate enough to dare.
Can't say I've ever been too fond of beginnings, myself. Messy little things. Give me a good ending anytime. You know where you are with an ending.
Partly because I get such astonishingly nice fans.
It has been said that civilization is twenty-four hours and two meals away from barbarism.
Everything had been going so well, he'd had it really under his thumb
these few centuries. That's how it goes, you think you're on top of the world, and suddenly they spring Armageddon on you.
It's an America with strange mythic depths. I see it as a distorting mirror; a book of danger and secrets, of romance and magic. It's about the soul of America, really. What people brought to America; what found them when they came; and the things that lie sleeping beneath it all.
If I could grant wishes do you think I would be driving a cab?
A philosopher once asked, "Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Pointless, really..."Do the stars gaze back?" Now that's a question.
I was always so relieved that anyone wants to publish anything I've written.
Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.
What a refreshing mind you have, young man. There really is nothing quite like total ignorance, is there?
When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing. This is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not. And you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can. If you don't know it's impossible it's easier to do. And because nobody's done it before, they haven't made up rules to stop anyone doing that again, yet.
When I was a kid, we actually lived in a house that had been divided in two at one point, which meant that one room in our house opened up onto a brick wall. And I was convinced all I had to do was just open it the right way and it wouldn't be a brick wall. So I'd sidle over to the door and I'd pull it open.
I took delight in hurling books across the room if I knew I would not be reading the second chapter. Then I'd go and pick them up again, because they are books, after all, and we are not savages.
When things get tough... Make good art.
Only the phoenix rises and does not descend. And everything changes. And nothing is truly lost.
If you, as a parent, raise your children well, they won't need you anymore. If you did it properly, they go away.
I am remarkably likeable. Few people have ever been as likeable as I am. There is, frankly, no end to my likeability. People gather together in public assemblies to discuss how much they like me. I have several awards, and a small medal from a small country in South America which pays tribute both to how much I am liked and my general all around wonderfulness. I don't have it on me, of course. I keep my medals in my sock drawer.
The only water in the forest is the river.
I still love the book-ness of books, the smell of books: I am a book fetishist--books to me are the coolest and sexiest and most wonderful things there are.
I watch with envious eyes and mind, the single-souled who dare not feel
The wind that blows beyond the moon, who do not hear the fairy reel.
One thing that I get from a lot of people with American Gods is people saying that they would love some kind of glossary with a list of all the Gods and who they are, so that they can look them up.
In order for stories to work -- for kids and for adults -- they should scare. And you should triumph. There's no point in triumphing over evil if the evil isn't scary.
Sharper than a serpent's tooth is a daughter's ingratitude. Still, the proudest spirits can be broken, with love.
And we held our breath, just for a moment, to see if the world had ended, but it hadn't, so we yawned and drank our champagne and carried on living, except for those of us who died, and everything continued such as before.
Justice?... Justice is a delusion you will not find on this or any other sphere.
And wisdom? Wisdom is no part of dreams, lithe walker, though dreams are a part of the sum of each life's experiences, which is the only wisdom that matters. But revelation? That is the province of dream. It can be yours, but only if your heart is strong.
Without dreams, there could be no despair.
Oh ... My twitchy witchy girl I think you are so nice, I give you bowls of porridge And I give you bowls of ice-cream.
When I was a boy, Ray Bradbury picked stories from his books of short stories he thought younger readers might like and published them as R Is for Rocket and S Is for Space. Now I was doing the same sort of thing, and I asked Ray if he'd mind if I called this book M Is for Magic. (He didn't.)
M is for magic. All the letters are, if you put them together properly. You can make magic with them, and dreams, and, I hope, even a few surprises.
So the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is out there preserving and fighting for, and sometimes winning and sometimes losing, the fight for First Amendment rights in comics and, more generally, for freedom of speech.
There was something about being in the vicinity of Grahame Coats that always made Fat Charlie (a) speak in cliches and (b) begin to daydream about huge black helicopters first opening fire upon, then dropping buckets of flaming napalm onto the offices of the Grahame Coats agency. Fat Charlie would not be in the office in those daydreams. He would be sitting in a chair outside a little cafe on the other side of Aldwych, sipping a frothy coffee and occasionally cheering at an exceptionally well-flung bucket of napalm.
Old but contented, the face of a man who had sipped life's vinegar and found it, by and large, to be mostly whiskey, and good whiskey at that.
The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before.
Rosies mother was a highly strung bundle of barely thought-through prejudices, worries and feuds.
Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.
I fell for her like a suicide from a bridge.
Sometimes there is nothing you can do.
My parents would frisk me before family events. Before weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, and what have you. Because if they didn't, then the book would be hidden inside some pocket or other and as soon as whatever it was got under way I'd be found in a corner. That was who I was...that was what I did. I was the kid with the book.
Adult helplessness destroys children. Or it forces them to become tiny adults of their own.
Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody -- no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.
And now only fragments of conversation would come back every now and again.
"Goldie is, like, such a good dog, and he was a purebred retriever, if only my dad would say okay, he wags his tail whenever he sees me. "It's Christmas, he has to let me use the snowmobile. "You can write your name with your tongue on the side of his thing. "I miss Sandy. "Yeah, I miss Sandy too. "Six inches tonight they said, but they just make it up, they make up the weather and nobody ever calls them on it.
She tasted the day he lost his first job. She tasted the morning he had awakened, still drunk, in his car, in the middle of a cornfield, and, terrified, had sworn off the bottle for ever. She knee his real name. She remembered the name that had once been tattooed on his arm and knew why it could be there no longer. She tasted the color of his eyes from the inside, and shivered at the nightmare he had in which he was forced to carry spiny fish in his mouth, and from which he woke, choking, night after night. She savored the hungers in food and fiction, and discovered a dark sky when he was a small boy and he had stared up at the stars and wondered at their vastness and immensity, that even he had forgotten.
In their huge bedroom that night, Tyr said to Thor, "I hope you know what you are doing."
"Of course I do," said Thor. But he didn't. He was just doing whatever he felt like doing. That was what Thor did best.
Where does contagion end and art begin?
It goes without saying that all of the people, living, dead, and otherwise, in this story are fictional or used in a fictional context. Only the gods are real.
Different people remember things differently, and you'll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not.
Different people remember things differently, and you'll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not. You stand two of you lot next to each other, and you could be continents away for all it means anything.
In a novel, you can always go back and make it look like you knew what you were doing all along before the thing goes out and gets published.
The price of getting what you want, is getting what once you wanted.
A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.
A book is a dream that you hold in your hands."
(As quoted on <a href="http: bookriot.com 2013 06 18 you-versus-a-blank-sheet-of-paper-gaiman-on-books-and-writing " rel="nofollow noopener">BookRiot< a>, June 18, 2013).
I wish being a beekeeper, which I am, gave you a free pass on the carbon footprint, but it doesn't.
We don't have a clue what's really going down, we just kid ourselves that we're in control of our lives while a paper's thickness away things that would drive us mad if we thought about them for too long play with us, and move us around from room to room, and put us away at night when they're tired, or bored.
I missed her, deeply, painfully. But life goes on.
This book is the book you have just read. It's done.
My bed was pushed up hard against the wall just below the window. I loved to sleep with the windows open. Rainy nights were the best of all: I would open my windows and put my head on my pillow and close my eyes and feel the wind on my face and listen to the trees sway and creak. There would be raindrops blown onto my face, too, if I was lucky, and I would imagine that I was in my boat on the ocean and that it was swaying with the swell of the sea. I did not imagine that I was a pirate, or that I was going anywhere. I was just on my boat.
For me, I would rather read a good book, from a contented author. I don't really care what it takes to produce that.
We must have bearers, and outriders, and perhaps an elephant -- they are so imposing, nothing says ‘Get out of the way' quite like an elephant in the front.
Since the dawn of humanity, stories have allowed each of us to be many.
Repeat after me, there are the living and the dead, there are day-folk and night-folk, there are ghouls and mist-walkers, there are high hunters and the Hounds of God. Also, there are solitary types." "What are you?" asked Bod. "I," she said sternly, "am Miss Lupescu." "And what is Silas?" She hesitated. Then she said, "He is a solitary type.
The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked…that's the moment you may be starting to get it right.
Richard put away the Narnia books, convinced, sadly, that they were an allegory; that an author (whom he had trusted) had been attempting to slip something past him. He had had the same disgust with the Professor Challenger stories, when the bull-necked old professor became a convert to Spiritualistm; it was not that Richard had any problems believing in ghosts -- Richard believed, with no problems or contradictions, in everything -- but Conan Doyle was preaching, and it showed through the words. Richard was young, and innoncent in his fashion, and believed that authors should be trusted, and that there should be nothing hidden beneath the surface of a story.
She's realized the real problem with stories -- if you keep them going long enough, they always end in death.
We are small but we are many We are many we are small We were here before you rose We will be here when you fall.
This aye night, this aye night; Every night and all; Fire and fleet and candlelight; And Christ receive thy soul.
Whenever it rains you will think of her.
In Hollywood the man who cleans your pool is an actor. The man who sells you your copy of Variety is an actor. I don't think there's a real person left in the place.
Stories are the lies that we need to make sense of our world and for our existence not to be meaningless.
It was a dream, and in dreams you have no choices: either there are no decisions to be made, or they were made for you long before ever the dream began.
The things that really change the world, according to Chaos theory, are the tiny things. A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian jungle, and subsequently a storm ravages half of Europe.
You shone like a star. The funniest, wisest writer and the finest friend.
Anything that keeps you happy and writing is part of my writing ritual: I like music, so I tend to have it playing in the background. But if I'm interested, I can write in an airport waiting areas.
There was only one guy in the whole Bible Jesus ever personally promised a place with him in Paradise. Not Peter, not Paul, not any of those guys. He was a convicted thief, being executed. So don't knock the guys on death row. Maybe they know something you don't.
I will be a wise and tolerant monarch, dispencing justice fairly, and only setting nightmares to rip out the winds of the evil and the wicked. Or just anybody that I don't like.
We do not always remember the things that do no credit to us. We justify them, cover them in bright lies or with the thick dust of forgetfulness.
We do not always remember the things that do no credit to us. We justify them, cover them in bright lies or with the thick dust of forgetfulness. All of the things that Shadow had done in his life of which he was not proud, all the things he wished he had done otherwise or left undone, came at him then in a swirling storm of guilt and regret and shame, and he had nowhere to hide from them. He was as naked and as open as a corpse on a table, and dark Anubis the jackal god was his prosector and his prosecutor and his persecutor.
Your kiss is honey and your touch scorches like fire, and I worship it.
Style is made up of whatever an author can't avoid doing.
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
Mister whoever-the-fuck you are," said Shadow, just loud enough to be heard over the din of the engines, "there isn't enough money in the world.
I was writing the kind of comic that would make me, at age 26 or 27, go down to a comic book store every month and spend my $2. That was my starting point. I wanted to write a comic that I would read. And that's still my agenda.
We wants you to surprise us and disappoint us and impress and amaze us. Come home, Bod.
She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.
An Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards.
I enjoy writing scripts. I can find out what happens. With an outline, I feel like I'm doing an architectural diagram of something.
But then it occured to him that any progress he had made on his quest so far he had made by accepting the help that had been offered to him.
There are some dogs which, when you meet them, remind you that, despite thousands of years of manmade evolution, every dog is still only two meals away from being a wolf.
Rock and roll stars have it much better than writers when they're on a tour.
I noticed a long time ago that the Universe rewards belief systems. It doesn't really matter what you believe -- it'll be there and waiting for you if you go and look for it. Decide the universe is, say, run by secret enormous teddy bears, and I can guarantee you'll immediately start running across evidence that this is true.
It was a survival thing: he didn't answer back, didn't say anything about job security for prison guards, debate the nature of repentance, rehabilitation, or rates of recidivism. He didn't say anything funny or clever, and, to be on the safe side, when he was talking to a prison official, whenever possible, he didn't say anything at all. Speak when you're spoken to. Do your own time. Get out. Go home. ... Rebuild a life.
It's a wonderful thing, as a writer, to be given parameters and walls and barriers.
Never use five words if you can get away with one, eh? I've known dead men talk more than you do.
Books were safer than other people anyway.
I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful.
Names come and names go.
Eyes as black and as shiny as chips of obsidian stared back into his. They were eyes like black holes, letting nothing out, not even information.
I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not.
What should I believe? thought Shadow, and the voice came back to him from somewhere deep beneath the world, in a bass rumble: Believe everything.
We live in a world in which the only utopian visions arrive in commercial breaks: magical visions of an impossibly hospitable world, peopled by bright-eyed attractive men, women, children... Where nobody dies... In my worlds people died. And I thought that was honest. I thought I was being honest.
You need more than a beginning if you're going to start a book. If all you have is a beginning, then once you've written that beginning, you have nowhere to go.
It's just I might get distracted, and I get lost kind of easily, and sometimes I have really bad days...when, you know, I just want to hide or scream or bleed or something, and...all that.
I kept starting 'Anansi Boys' as a movie and stopping, and eventually wrote the novel and was happy.
Don't be a moronic lump of blubbering, quaking, pathetic lard.
You'll think this is a bit silly, but I'm a bit -- well, I have a thing about birds." "What, a phobia?" "Sort of." "Well, that's the common term for an irrational fear of birds." "What do they call a rational fear of birds, then?
This isn't about what is ... it's about what people think is. It's all imaginary anyway. That's why it's important. People only fight over imaginary things.
The best thing--in Shadow's opinion, perhaps the only good thing--about being in prison was a feeling of relief. The feeling that he'd plunged as low as he could plunge and he'd hit bottom. He didn't worry that the man was going to get him, because the man had got him. He was no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, because yesterday had brought it.
We have eyes and we have nerveses
We have tails we have teeth You'll all get what you deserveses When we rise from underneath.
So you all remember: just because you're small, doesn't mean you got no power.
It is said that scattered through Despair's domain are a multitude of tiny windows, hanging in the void. Each window looks out onto a different scene, being, in our world, a mirror. Sometimes you will look into a mirror and feel the eyes of Despair upon you, feel her hook catch and snag on your heart. Despair says little, and is patient.
I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled.
I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.
I suppose I could claim that I had suspected that the world was a cheap and shoddy sham, a bad cover for something deeper and weirder and infinitely more strange, and that, in some way, I already know the truth. But I think that's just how the world has always been. And even now I know the truth, the world still seems cheap and shoddy. Different world, different shoddy, but that's how it feels.
You know what killed off the dinosaurs, Whateley? We did. In one barbecue.
It is a fool's prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak.
Growing up, I took so many cues from books. They taught me most of what I knew about what people did, about how to behave. They were my teachers and my advisers.
The sky had never seemed so sky; the world had never seemed so world.
You lived what anybody gets, Bernie. You got a lifetime. No more. No less.
I've known ambitious people with no aptitude for the thing they did. Most of whom, rather terrifyingly, tended to succeed.
But we do not need to recount every sermon and eulogy. After all, you were there.
But libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.
How can you be happy in this world? You have a hole in your heart. You have a gateway inside you to lands beyond the world you know. They will call you, as you grow.
How can you be happy in this world? You have a hole in your heart. You have a gateway inside you to lands beyond the world you know. They will call you, as you grow. There can never be a time when you forget them, when you are not, in your heart, questing after something you cannot have, something you cannot even properly imagine, the lack of which will spoil your sleep and your day and your life, until you close your eyes for the final time.
You shine like a beacon in a dark world.
I think that pretty much every form of fiction (I'd include fantasy, obviously) can actually be a real escape from places where you feel bad, and from bad places. It can be a safe place you go, like going on holiday, and it can be somewhere that, while you've escaped, actually teaches you things you need to know when you go back, that gives you knowledge and armour and tools to change the bad place you were in.
So no, they're not escapist. They're escape.
The Doctor: Sorry, do you have a name?
Idris: Seven hundred years and finally he asks. The Doctor: But what do I call you? Idris: I think you call me... Sexy? The Doctor: embarrassed Only when we're alone. Idris: We are alone. The Doctor: Oh. Come on then, Sexy.
Frogs, ducks, rhinos, octopuses -- whatever you desire. The world will be built new for you every morning. If you stay here, you can have whatever you want.'
Coraline sighed. ‘You really don't understand, do you?' she said. ‘I don't want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted? Just like that, and it didn't mean anything. What then?
People tend to find books when they are ready for them.
I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.
We all have so many functions, so many ways of existing. In my own vision of myself, I am a scholar who lives quietly, and pens his little tales, and dreams about a past that may or may not have existed. And that is true, as far as it goes. But I am also, in one of my capacities, like so many of the people you have chosen to associate with, a psychopomp. I escort the living to the world of the dead.
Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.
Before that no one thought of us as colored-foreign maybe, exotic and dark, but not colored.
Life is a disease, sexually transmitted and fatal.
There was something sly about his smile,
his eyes so black and sharp, his rufous hair. Something that sent her early to their trysting place, beneath the oak, beside the thornbush, something that made her climb the tree and wait. Climb a tree, and in her condition. Her love arrived at dusk, skulking by owl-light, carrying a bag, from which he took a mattock, shovel, knife. He worked with a will, beside the thornbush, beneath the oaken tree, he whistled gently, and he sang, as he dug her grave, that old song... shall I sing it for you, now, good folk?
Read it first, then tell me it's cool.
I sat in the dark and thought: There's no big apocalypse. Just an endless procession of little ones.
Whereas there are lots of good novels out there; there are a few good movies out there. People have been writing great poems for years, but there aren't a lot of good comics. I like trying to write them.
If you read enough Lionel Fanthorpe, your brain starts to turn to jelly and just dribbles out of your ears.
I don't know if any single book made me want to write. C.S. Lewis was the first writer to make me aware that somebody was writing the book I was reading -- these wonderful parenthetical asides to the reader.
There's a glorious sense of freedom in comedy, just allowing myself to tell jokes, allowing myself to interrupt myself and tell old African folk stories that I made up -- or didn't -- and Jamaican stories.
There are stories that are true, in which each individual's tale is unique and tragic, and the worst of the tragedy is that we have heard it before, and we cannot allow ourselves to feel it to deeply. We build a shell around it like an oyster dealing with a painful particle of grit, coating it with smooth pearl layers in order to cope. This is how we walk and talk and function, day in, day out, immune to others' pain and loss. If it were to touch us it would cripple us or make saints of us; but, for the most part, it does not touch us. We cannot allow it to.
I have heard the languages of apocalypse, and now I shall embrace the silence.
One thing I've learned: you can know anything, it's all there, you just have to find it.
People think dreams aren't real just because they aren't made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes.
There was a hysteria in there, certainly, but there was also the exhaustion of someone who had managed, somehow, to believe several dozen impossible things in the last twenty-four hours, without ever getting a proper breakfast.
Trees there were, old as trees can be, huge and grasping with hearts black as sin. Strange trees that some said walked in the night.
So be wise. And if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise and then just behave like they would. Now go, and make interesting mistakes. Make Interesting. Mistakes. Make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for you being here. Make good art.
I think I would rather be a man than a god. We don't need anyone to believe in us. We just keep going anyhow. It's what we do.
You people talk about the living and the dead as if they were two mutually exclusive categories. As if you can not have a river that is also a road, or a song that is also a color.
I think of myself as a very lazy author.
I watch my heart disappearing into her rosebud mouth. My Valentine's jest somehow seems less funny.
I always wanted to be a writer, but Alan Moore's work and help inspired me to write comics. In some ways the biggest influence on me writing was Punk. There was the idea that you could do something by simply doing it.
I think I could be a perfectly decent cat. I've been around cats long enough to know what the rules of being a cat are. When all else fails, wash. And I think I could master the thing that cats do, where they stalk away pretending they meant to do whatever it was in the first place; showing their wounded dignity.