Friday, April 09, 2010


The universe is silent, big & lonely. Take a book. Take a friend. Take Tori Amos and Flash Girls.

I've been deconstructing Neil Gaiman. Is he as good as his 700,000 fangirls think he is? The rock he chains himself to is Jane Austen. That baffles me; I don't think he's being ironic. It's genuine admiration.* I knew an exotic dancer in college who loved Tess of the d'Urbervilles — though Thomas Hardy is not Jane Austen, of course — and also a remarkably calm and elegant straight-A's student named Jane Austen Something-or-other who was excoriated by a fierce skin disease of some kind which she helped you to ignore with a gentle inner fire.

You can tell the great, seventeen-year-old human characters you've met by their dogs†; Jane's was a miniature poodle who found coming to the last day of high school (East Lansing High, 1960) loud, confusing and terrifying: Her dog sat a-tremble at her feet the entire day, anchored to her calm. Both of these kids were the kind who'd like Neil Gaiman, the guy who wrote Stardust. What does Neil Gaiman see in Jane Austen? I suspect Neil Gaiman's mind is like The Breakfast Club. The zombies are not his fault.

Jane Austen hitchhiking her way to Andromeda in Neil Gaiman's 18-wheeled behemoth. Cool. So, if Door is reading Mansfield Park, is she browsing an EpiTome™ or has Gaiman slapped a wanted poster on a public space: BITES AND KICKS. REWARD PAYED. Your mind?‡

*Occam's razor suggests, rather cynically in my opinion, that carrying around a copy of Mansfield Park is an elementary babe magnet, like babies, kittens and small dogs, but in Gaiman's case the dork retard version is probably wrong. The guy's got a journeyman's grip on history. Crikeys, he lives in Minneapolis and he's future English literature.

There is, for example, a rather cheeky annual Irish wolfhound stroll along the tidal mudflats of the Netherlands which comes to mind for the rhetorical third of this intimidating throng, but I have no personal involvement when you get right down to brass tacks. Another Gaiman fangirl, though, apparently living in New Zealand these days.

Yes. Intentionally. Cubist. Prosody. A life spent making mud birds out of linear monotonies, for the love of Howell. I knew an Allen Ginsberg groupie, once; speaking of low comedy, she hadn't read the poem.... (This was Ginsberg in his Tibetan hurdy gurdy mood.)



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