Neil Gaiman: Where to start

Make Good Art sign on my desk

Make Good Art sign on my desk

I posted the above photo of my new Locomocean cinema style lightbox with the words "Make Good Art" on it, and with the following quote from Neil Gaiman's Address to the University of the Arts Class of 2012:

Life is sometimes 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.

I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.

Make it on the good days too.
— Neil Gaiman

These words have given me comfort and the strength to keep going with my #10minsbeforebed project throughout this year of "growth opportunity".

One of the commenters on that instagram post said she'd not heard of Neil before, and asked where to start, and given that instagram doesn't let you post URLs, and this is a question I love to be asked, I figured I'd go old-school, dust of this here blog and write a blog post about it.

So here goes - a quick quite to where to start with Neil Gaiman.

The 'Make Good Art' Speech

The video of the full address is below, and absolutely worth a watch, or if you're not somewhere you can watch a video, click through using the link below the video and you'll find a full transcript which you can read at your leisure. 

The Day The Saucers Came

Author Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) reads his poem "The Day the Saucers Came" at Minnesota Public Radio's Wits.

I love this poem beyond the telling of it. I heard it before I read it, at the book tour for Fragile Things, one of several books of short stories and other groups of words, which is also a fine place to start if you want to dip your toe in the Gaiman water without the commitment that goes with reading a novel or long story.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

One of his more recent books, written for his wife, musician Amanda Palmer. Never intended to be published, but I'm very glad it did.

One of his more recent books, written for his wife, musician Amanda Palmer. Never intended to be published, but I'm very glad it did.

About to become a TV Series, which is hugely exciting.

About to become a TV Series, which is hugely exciting.

Theoretically a kids story, but a good, short read. Made into a fabulous stop-motion animated film.

Theoretically a kids story, but a good, short read. Made into a fabulous stop-motion animated film.

From Henry Selick, visionary director of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and based on Neil Gaimans international best-selling book, comes a spectacular stop-motion animated adventure the first to be originally filmed in 3D! Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning) is bored in her new home until she finds a secret door and discovers an alternate version of her life on the other side.
Where it all started, for me. The amazing graphic novel series, of which Preludes and Nocturnes is the beginning.

Where it all started, for me. The amazing graphic novel series, of which Preludes and Nocturnes is the beginning.

Books for Kids

He's also written a bunch of books for kids, so if you know small people, you can get them started early with:

Chu's Day

Blueberry Girl

The Wolves in the Walls

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish

The Graveyard Book

Other Favourites

I could go on and on and on, because he's a) so good and b) so prolific, but I'll just list a few other favourites here, and then stop, because basically, the tl;dr is - start anywhere, then keep going.

Neverwhere - You'll never see London the same again. Was made into a BBC TV series.

Good Omens - Written with Terry Pratchett.

Stardust - Worth hunting down the illustrated version because Charles Vess's artwork is beautiful, but the novel is still good. Was made into a film.

Enjoy!