Sunday, March 22, 2009

some events of March 7th, 2009

It has been two weeks time since the Blueberry Girl event in Manhattan.

We were in a taxi heading downtown from Neil’s hotel when Lorraine called me, saying, please, have Neil call home now, as she couldn’t get through to his cell phone. I heard the alarm bells of worry in her voice. He rang home and was given the news of his father’s unexpected passing.

I directed the cab to take us to the closest park. We walked in circles and from time to time, he would pause, staring into the trees while speaking quietly with his family by telephone. His morning meetings, we cancelled. Paul and Suzan were so gracious and understanding. I was somewhat of a dolt, not really knowing what to do or say, and I repeated my own dear Dad's patented lines...maybe one too many times, because Neil eventually looked up at me, squeezed my hand and said softly and kindly, "...you're doing just fine, Kit." The measure of that man...

He was scheduled to do a signing at Books of Wonder, and although I was pressing for a cancel, he wanted to continue with his obligations to Charles Vess and to his readers. We wandered up the street in the general direction of the bookstore. There was a huge line in front, and people jostled and cheered as he came through. Michael Stewart greeted us in front

No one knew his news except a few friends, and he kept a silent vigil.

Merrilee, his literary agent and Elyse, his publicist were there, we all wanted to just take him away. Continuing on with the event, I believe, bridged the sorrow of the day for him, which he did later thank people for.
Neil went on to do a brilliant reading. He signed for nine hours, six hours longer than he was meant to, until every last person had gotten a signature and a part of Neil.







He signed elbow to elbow with the fine Charles Vess, you can see his original artwork lining the bookshop walls.




stacks upon stacks of the Blueberry Girl:



Neil wrote BBG for Miss Tash Hawley, Tori’s daugher.
I toured with little Tash and her parents when she was
still but a merbaby age of three:



(i made this magnet for T's birthday many years ago)

here, Neil answers an interesting audience question:




At the event, I met with talented young Alice and her husband, Michael-- shown here with her stunning portrayal of Death and Dream:




Meanwhile, back on the home front, THE FABULOUS LORRAINE worked her otherworldly magic on the airlines to turn much "no" into "yes", all dust into gold-- she got the airline tickets needed to send him to his family immediately.

I remain in awe of Neil’s decision, and his strength of heart.
This more-personal-than-usual blog stands as a memorial to Neil’s father, David, who raised such a son.

21 comments:

DataGoddess said...

Thank you for sharing this with us, Kitty.

Dan Guy said...

Bless Neil, and bless you...

Lindsey Joyce said...

I teared up a little. The strength of man...and even more so the strength of so humble a man as Neil Gaiman is most powerfully told through the prespective of others.

Kate Garchinsky said...

Lovely post. Thank you.

Trisha Lynn said...

Joining the throng to say thanks for having written this, and also to say that he's lucky to have someone like you and Lorraine in his life. Never let anyone say to you that the work you do isn't important.

Dragonsally said...

I'm glad you were there with Neil.
Team Gaiman is amazing - how could you not be with such a leader?

On an other not...why didn't Google reader import this post for me?

AletaMay said...

Thanks for telling us the story and for doing stellar work on such a stressful day!

FabulousLorraine said...

Kitty, that was really lovely, thank you. I was and am SO glad you were there with him, it helped SO much...

Inna said...

neil gaiman is amazing and so are you for posting this!

ariandalen said...

Beautifully written, Ms. Kitty.

Thank you.

Na said...

A lovely snapshot of such a difficult moment. Thank you for sharing, poet Kitty.

spacedlaw said...

awwww.
You must have felt so helpless.
*hugs*

Marjorie said...

Beautifully written, and so glad you were there for Neil, and that he has you and Quiche to help him through.

Dan Guy said...

On second read, I recognize Alice's work! I saw that picture of Daniel and Death online last year and convinced Alice to sell me a print of it.

Jess said...

Beautiful post, Kitty. May we all show as much strength and heart.

Xtopher said...

Thanks for sharing, Cat; I know Neil must be very grateful to have had you there. I echo the gratitude of your other friends for posting such an intimate and sensitive account. You know our prayers are with him and the family.

vampi said...

*hugs* you are a beautiful person. it is the small quiet moments like this that display your love and friendship for others.

that magnet is amazing.

daria said...

Thanks for this post. It takes so much courage not to tell people what you feel. But sometimes it's the one thing you can do.
and yes, the magnet is very beautiful!

Alice said...

I empathize so strongly with what's happened. My own father passed away March 28th of last year, so finding out about Neil brought everything from that period of time back to me. Thanks for posting this, Cat.

btw.. I E-mailed you a while ago, so whenever you get some free time, I'd love to hear back. <3

Alice Meichi Li said...

Sorry, the wrong Gmail account had me logged in -- this is the correct one. :)

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