1) His books.
I first started with his short stories, Fragile things. This book is filled with short stories giving you a tantalising glimpse into a world through a small peep-hole. You get to read a part of the story, but you just know there is more to it, it grabs your interest just enough, just enough to make you want to be part of the world Gaiman is showing you, then it ends and you are left with so many questions that your mind can feed on for days.
I was then introduced to Neverwhere by a friend, which really proved that the caverns of Gaiman’s mind are deep and dark and dotted with the eyes of creatures peering at you as you descend.
While reading I just couldn’t help feeling like I’d found a home, that my mind and all the creepy, weird, nonsense that spurts out of it had found a place to be among friends.
Although I don’t think I could ever be prepared for American God’s, at least Neverwhere was a training course, to learn how to accept that the world which you will become part of for a few days or weeks will stay inside those pages, as heartbreaking as that is. Be ready to take a journey, with an unlikely hero. Be ready to accept that not everything is as it seems, and for the lines of your world to be blurred irrefutably.
That was it for me. I now have to limit myself, I must read at least three other books in between Gaiman’s books or I’ll be lost in their pages forever, unable to distinguish anymore what is my world and his.
2) Advocate for accessible, public use of imagination.
Neil Gaiman is changing how authors interact with their readers, he is redefining the role adults, writers, readers should take in our society. In 2013 he was campaigning in the UK against the abhorrent closure of libraries all over the country,
“Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.” –
“We all – adults and children, writers and readers – have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.” (http://www.librarycampaign.com/tag/neil-gaiman/)
He advocates the importance of independent bookstores, stores that will stock local authors (and probably know them!) stores with clerks who love books and can recommend based on their own experiences. (http://www.bookweb.org/news/neil-gaiman-amanda-palmer-call-authors-support-indies-first-campaign)
3) He gives back.
He is out there. He is writing, reading, advocating. He is inspiring new readers, new writers, he is recapturing the disillusioned. He is on a mission to make sure the worlds inside your minds are explored.
This is why, I love Neil Gaiman.
Plus he is married to Amanda F*cking Palmer! ❤