Last night I had the privilege of attending the US debut of Neil Gaiman’s multi-media show, in which he read his new book, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains. He was accompanied by the incredibly innovative Australian string quartet, FourPlay, and the childlike, yet deeply detailed and evocative illustrations of Eddie Campbell. By some stroke of luck, or a gift from the new gods of cheap concert tickets, my friend and I were pushed to the floor seats, and were thus able to witness the majesty of the Warfield Theater up close.
During the evening, I couldn’t help but feel slightly ashamed — I just couldn’t give Mr. Gaiman my full attention. I kept glancing about; to the stark silhouettes of others watching in rapture, their faces lit and shadowed by a huge depictions of misty moors and treacherous climbs and… well, I won’t ruin the rest (go buy it, goodness! or mooch off a Gaiman-diehard friend, as I’m known to do). My feet and hands were restless, and my mind was whirring with a speculative plot outline for the strange dabbling I’d begun the night before.
As I was pushed into the lobby and throng of fantastic hairdos and steampunk-inspired garb after the second half, my confusion and embarrassment resolved. It wasn’t that Mr. Gaiman’s efforts to perform had fallen on deaf ears, nor was it that I was too dull or disgruntled to enjoy his unsettling, darkly funny, and heartfelt narration. Either of these options were blasphemy in my eyes — I’ll admit I can have an unfortunately egotistical streak when faced with books. Thankfully, it was neither.
I was unequivocally inspired.
Mr. Gaiman’s presence radiated creativity, and his performance showcased the care, passion, and dedication put into his craft. Love and light shone from the text of a dismal tale, splitting my focus, and dragging my own love to the surface.
As I exited the lobby, passing hundreds of posters bearing such acts as The White Stripes and David Bowie, I was fit to burst with a love for writing, a love for this transcendent sort of communication, and an abundance of determination. I needed to write.
I think this is the best gift Mr. Gaiman, FourPlay, and Mr. Campbell could have given me, and so nicely packaged, too! Who knows how long this determination will consume me, but I can only hope it will expend my energy to create something worthy of the man whom it was inspired by. If not, I hope I can at least hold it dear.
Thank you, Mr. Gaiman. What’s inspired you, lately?
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