To Mr. Neil Gaiman, who spoke at the Billings Library yesterday,
I wanted to thank you in three parts. Thank you for your creativity, for your positivity, and for your dedication.
I'm sure you've received enough awards by now to realize that your creativity is a force to be reckoned with. Even more than that, however, it is a gift. You mentioned in your talk yesterday that stories give us the means to look at the world through a different perspective, to allow us to live other lives. Stories also serve as a sort of cryogenic preservation, allowing us to store our perspectives in a medium that is significantly more durable than our short-lived carbon shells. Your perspective will live on beyond you inside your work, seeing sights and inspiring minds in the future that today might seem impossible. You are certainly deserving of such a gift.
Your positivity was of note because of how genuinely you spoke. You told a room full of young teens and young adults that writer's block is not something to be afraid of, but rather something to expect. That life would throw us difficulties you made no effort of hiding, and you told us that sometimes it takes a great deal of time to make great things. These are lessons I have already learned, but I know that hearing those things from you have helped prepare an entire room full of 15-year-old teens for some of what life may throw them, and perhaps some of what life already has.
And that brings me to my final item of thanks. Thank you for caring about the next generation. The author H.P. Lovecraft made a habit of corresponding with younger writers, reading their work and encouraging them to hone their craft. What I saw yesterday was a room full of eager young minds looking for inspiration, and one man who held their dreams at the tip of his fingers. Thank you for giving them someone to look up to and aspire towards, for answering the hard questions like "where do you get your inspiration?" and "how long does it take to write a book?". Here in Montana literary heroes famous on the world stage can be hard to find, most of them don't take the time to visit way out here. I'm very glad you did.
Also and lastly, I don't think it would be fair to go this far without crediting the source wherefrom I first heard of you: the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast (found at Hppodcraft.com). The podcast is two fellows who for a time would discuss the themes and history of every Lovecraft story. They have since completed discussing Lovecraft's work and are now talking about the stories that inspired Lovecraft. The two gentlemen who co-star the podcast (Chad Fifer and Chris Lackey) are big fans of your work, and it is from them that I first learned of your Sandman series of graphic novels. If it strikes your fancy and you need something to listen to, try their podcast out. They're always inviting guest hosts, and I feel it would be a disservice on my part if I didn't invite you to contact them.
The only other fellow in the room with a beard,
Who asked you a question about the purpose of stories,
Which you answered.