Neil Gaiman Poster

Quotes (64)

  • 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.
  • 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 doubt on their existence. Or lack thereof.
  • We all not only could know everything. We do. We just tell ourselves we don't to make it all bearable.
  • It is a fool's prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak.
  • Firstly, there is 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.
  • I was a "bookie" kid. 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.
  • 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.
  • There is never enough time, and I wind up just wanting to do things that I don't have time for.
  • The biggest difference between England and America is that England has history, while America has geography.
  • In fiction, why do people never talk while making love?
  • One day the good and honest townsfolk of Northampton will burn Alan (Moore) as a warlock, and it will be a great loss to the world.
  • I like writing things that will surprise me.
  • I think a good short story is a magic trick. That's one reason why I love reading books on magic, because sometimes you realize that the trick is very small, but the effect is huge.
  • These days AIDS seems to have become, for good or evil, just another disease in Venus's armoury.
  • Writing is flying in dreams.
  • I seem to have a career that I enjoy that doesn't involve getting up too early in the morning.
  • Mirrors are wonderful things. They appear to tell the truth, to reflect life back out at us; but set a mirror correctly and it will lie so convincingly you'll believe something has vanished into thin air, that a box filled with doves and flags and spiders is actually empty, that people hidden in the wings or the pit are floating ghosts upon the stage. Angle it right and a mirror becomes a magic casement; it can show you anything you can imagine and maybe a few things you can't. Stories are in one way or another mirrors. We use them to explain to ourselves how the world works or how it doesn't. Like mirrors, stories prepare us for the day to come. They distract us from the things in the darkness. Fantasy is a mirror, a distorting mirror, and a concealing mirror set at 45 degrees to reality, but a mirror nonetheless, which we use to tell ourselves things we might not otherwise see.
  • There are people who don't read introductions.
  • Sometimes the only way I would know that a story had finished was when there weren't any more words to be written down.
  • I laughed in the face of danger and spat on the shoes of writers block.
  • Handmade Christmas cards are things of beauty; monuments to inspired creativity.
  • Every Christmas I feel insignificant and embarrassed and talentless.
  • The mechanics of writing fascinate me.
  • You know what you're writing ahead of time.
  • Writing imaginative tales for the young is like sending coals to Newcastle. For coals.
  • Stories you read when you're the right age never quite leave you. If a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit. Horror stays with you hardest.
  • Fantasy gets into your bones.
  • Science-fiction takes you across the stars, and into other times and minds.
  • 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.
  • The hardest thing to do as a young writer is to finish something.
  • The good thing about a book of short stories is you don't have to like them all.
  • 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...
  • I remember reading books as a child and promising myself I would never forget. Because you'd read books, and they'd obviously been written by someone who'd completely forgot. And I'd go, How can you forget?
  • I could run down a list of my teachers for you when I was 9 or 10 by the physical punishments they liked inflicting on us. From the spotty young man, Mr. Cook, who made us - and we were wearing short trousers - stand in a desk while hitting the backs of our knees with a ruler, to the ones who would grab you [by the hair] and turn it , to the really kind of perverted ones who would go down for your nipple and squeeze. And the ones who would simply throw things..What the fuck was up with that? Did adults know? Did they care?
  • I love writing stuff where I get to set the rules. Which is, I guess, a bit like fantasy in that I love being God when I write. Could I have written 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' with absolutely no magic? Sure I could. But the magic in 'Ocean' for me is like adding a little salt. It brings out the tastes. It makes things that happen, happen more so.
  • George R R Martin is not your bitch.
  • What makes children's fiction children's fiction? What makes fiction for adults? What do people respond to and what do I respond to. One of the keys to children's fiction for me is you owe it to the world, and you owe it to the kids, to give them hope.
  • The one thing that used to absolutely terrify me was the shadow of my dressing gown. There was something about the shadow of the dressing gown hanging on the door that looked like somebody just standing on the wall - even if the door was open and the light was on. That shadow would be cast on the wall and I'd think there would be somebody there, someone waiting on the other side of the door for me - and it was very, very terrifying.
  • There were apparently limits to what you could take out of South Africa.
  • Normally the audience for any of my books is me. Sometimes if I am writing a book - even my kids' books - I tend to be very, very aware, if I can be, of the fact that adults are going to be reading them too. You're very aware that some adult is going to have to read it as well as a kid, but you're also trying to put yourself back in the frame of mind of a kid for whom every turning of the page is an adventure.
  • I think you can absolutely have absolute truths, just as I believe you can absolutely never have two people who were there agree on what that absolute truth is. It's the glory and the magic of the way memory works. Memories are being rewritten all the time and the view changes wherever you're standing. So while there probably are absolute truths, I would hesitate to pronounce on what they are. I think that there are definitely no personal absolute truths. Because I think personal absolute truths are colored by memory and feeling and point of view.
  • [writing chunks from 1930s and 40s girls-school stories] I loved writing them. I loved the fact that I got to make them up and could have just made them up forever.
  • The Mary Poppins books by PL Travers stayed with me. A lot of the ones that stayed with me are the ones I've actually discovered that as an adult I could go back and re-read, discovering they are still great books. PL Travers is such a fantastic writer. So smart and invested so much for kids. Another is CS Lewis.
  • I love marital squabbles. Not the kind where you're actually fighting about anything that means anything. Just ones where what you're actually hearing is this wonderful porridge that memory turns into. People take other people's memories, people remember things differently, and if there was an anything that at the exact moment it happened all you have to reconstruct it with is a subjective truth.
  • I think the joy of perfectly new experiences is that they should be a surprise - and the joy of writing about kids is that so much is absolutely new, you can give them first times for everything.
  • I remember my first ever experience with death - I must have been maybe three. I remember thinking my goldfish bowl looked dirty, and very proudly squirted some washing-up liquid in there just to help. And the next day I came down and both of my goldfish were just floating on their bodies, dead. And I was absolutely and utterly heartbroken.
  • There is this weird, glorious magic of anything being done for the first time. And of course the joy of anything being done for the first time is that it should always be completely unpredictable and unexpected. I wouldn't just say I'd like to swim with dolphins, because truly what I'd like is to be astonished. And then to go, 'this is the first time I've ever done this - how cool!' So, not to be expecting it is a huge part of it.
  • [surviving a near-death experience as a child] I just had a feeling that I'd known everything in that time, that I'd been somewhere you could know everything and now I had to go back to being human again, being one person with a strange small head. I wanted to reproduce that feeling.
  • There are things I think some kids are really good at. I was really good at living inside books, the sort of relationship kids have with fiction, the relationship kids have with books.
  • They don't teach you the facts of death, your Mum and Dad. They give you pets. And actually it's true. For many of us, pets are the way we initially discover death and the heartbreak of death. And we have to discover it. We encounter it, we learn how to live with it, learn how to survive it. And that, in some horrible way, is what pets are for.
  • I think there's a bonding experience between children and pets whereas adults would be hard pushed to make that amount of emotional investment in pets. My pets were pretty much always cats.
  • [why he likes giving lectures] To try and understand what I was writing and who it was for.
  • I needed to change and fix and rebuild.
  • I am really fascinated by the power of myths. You don't go to a myth for characterization - what you go to a really good myth for is a kind of glorious inevitability.
  • [photographs] Memory-jogging.
  • I owe thanks to so many people, the ones who were there in my life when I needed them, the ones who brought me tea, the ones who wrote the books that brought me up. To single any of them out is foolish.
  • [driving down a narrow country lane at night in fog] If you drive slowly, you can see far enough in front of you to drive safely and keep going, but you can't drive very fast, and you really don't know what's going to be around each corner.
  • In Sarasota, Florida, Stephen King reminded me of the joy of just writing every day. Words save our lives, sometimes.
  • I have wonderful editors on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • [his novel] The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a novel of childhood and memory. It's a story of magic, about the power of stories and how we face the darkness inside of us. It's about fear, and love, and death and families. But, fundamentally, I hope, at its heart, it's a novel about survival.
  • [acknowledgements in a book] You do not have to read it. It's mostly just names.
  • The good folk of Twitter were extremely helpful when I needed to double-check how much Blackjacks and fruit salad sweets cost in the 1960s.
  • I learned more about the words I'd written when reading aloud than I ever have learned about anything I've written.
  • The problems of failure are hard. The problems of success can be harder, because nobody warns you about them. The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you. It's Impostor Syndrome, something my wife Amanda christened the Fraud Police. In my case, I was convinced that there would be a knock on the door, and a man with a clipboard -I don't know why he had a clipboard, but in my head, he always had a clipboard- would be there to tell me it was all over, and they caught up with me, and now I would have to go and get a real job, one that didn't consist of making things up and writing them down, and reading books I wanted to read. And then I would go away quietly and get the kind of job where I had to get up early in the morning, and wear a tie, and not make things up any more.