Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oh the cleverness of me!


My Capstone project is finished and turned in, I can graduate now. My story is about a little boy named Dorian (not that little, he’s 12) who is the saddest boy in the world. His imagination has been stolen by a mysterious figure called The Collector, but somehow he manages to make a little girl out of pipe cleaners (wonder where that idea came from) who magically comes to life one morning. Here is a little taste of my story, two of the fifty two pages the story has become:

“Please show yourself.” His usual polite tone seemed to be working. The edges of his bed spread moved as if something was pulling at them from the other side of his bed. Something blue started to rise up, bright, royal blue like the fake flowers in the craft store. Dorian gave a small startled cry as eyes and a nose followed the blue head of hair. Eventually they all became a girl about his age standing in his room next to his nightstand. The edges of the room seemed to shimmer as her body came full into view, as if her presence in the world shocked it as much as Dorian.
“Who are you?” Dorian asked the most logical and straight to the point question he could think of. The girl was not looking at him, but was looking awe struck at her hands, turning them over and wiggling her fingers with a delighted smile. Dorian repeated his question a little louder and her head popped up. Eyes as blue as her hair stared straight into his own dark pair.
“Who am I? Who are you? Where is this? Check out my hands, they have fingers and everything!” The girl was again distracted by her fingers, moving them above her head, letting the light from the window shine through them.
“All hands have fingers.” Dorian was not amused with the situation. There was a strange girl in his room with a thing for fingers. This was not how he had imagined spending his Saturday morning.
“Mine didn’t!” said the girl, “Do yours? Can I see them? Is this your room?” She climbed onto his bed and started to crawl toward him, a huge smile permanently stuck to her face. She was wearing a white dress with a lace ruffle around the bottom and small pink embroidered flowers speckling it. Her hair curled under her chin neatly and swung back and forth as she moved closer to the confused boy.
“Wait, stop,” said Dorian, “and don’t touch me! Where did you come from? Yes this is my room and I want to know how you got in here.” She had just reached for his fingers when his sharp words stopped her. Her smile did not go away, but it lessened a little. She was standing very close to him when she suddenly fell backward onto the bed laughing. Dorian could not see what was so funny.
“What could possibly be so funny? You are trespassing.”
“Oh calm down mad boy, I am not hurting anything. Anyhow, you brought me in here, so really I am not trespassing at all, isn’t that funny? You made me on the bed and now here I am! Can I open the window? Are those your toys? Can I read your books?”
“That is impossible. I made a doll. You are a real girl.”
“Right- I don’t see the problem here. What’s so impossible about it?” She was sitting on his bed, kicking her feet in the air. She was not wearing any shoes.
“Dolls can’t come to life. That’s what’s impossible. I would think I was dreaming, but I never dream.” The girl stopped kicking her feet and sat up straight, her smiling finally disappearing. Finally, thought Dorian, she understands. Now she will tell me where she came from. She pulled her legs up onto the bed into Indian style and looked up at him with sad eyes.
“You don’t dream? That’s the saddest thing I have ever heard.” It looked like she was going to cry. Dorian could not believe what he was hearing. This girl had to go before he got in trouble for having a strange girl in his room.


Any good? I don’t even know, and you probably don’t either since this is so little of it. Look for it at your neighborhood bookstore! In about a million to never years. One can only hope.

I finished reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman minutes ago. It was fantastic; I highly recommend it to readers of any and all ages. Did I ever tell you all about how I got to meet Neil Gaiman and now I sort of hero worship him these days? Well I did, he signed my copy of The Graveyard Book, The Dangerous Alphabet (in which he wrote ‘M is for Maria’ without being prompted) and my copy of the first Sandman comic that I gave to James (the brother) for his birthday. He wrote ‘Happy Birthday James’ inside at my request. It was one of my more successful gifts if I so say so myself.

Neil Gaiman is a tall, dark Englishman who, after an entire day of listening to him read and answer questions, I finally figured out reminded me of Alan Rickman a great deal. This is a compliment to both Neil and Alan, I assure you. Neil spoke about writing for children and how important it is, how the things children read before they are 15 are the things that shape the rest of their lives. Everything he said about writing children’s books and about imagination went straight to my heart, those being two of my favorite topics. He is easy to love.

My friend Hayley made an interesting observation that day, between his Q&A and his reading later that day. She said that he did not come off full of himself, that he was very modest and actually seemed like a genuinely nice person. I said something along the lines of “why does that surprise you?” and she explained that, with many of the famous writers she has seen read they come off a little self absorbed, which really, you need to be in a way to be a writer. You need to be confident in yourself and what you write or no one is going to want your stuff. Believe in yourself first and others will believe in you too. Any who, Neil seemed to have confidence and still come off extremely modest and friendly, which sunk him deeper into my heart.

He talked about C.S. Lewis and his love of the Narnia books growing up, his kids, his love of storytelling and answered many questions from his adoring fans. After his reading we all scampered to form a gigantic line (the likes of which I have only ever seen when waiting for the 7th Harry Potter book at midnight the night it came out) as they teach us to do in school, and waited out turn to get our books signed. My friends and I waited in line for a solid hour. We were the three levels of fandom; Hayley having only read one of his books (Stardust) and not knowing much about him, me being a new fan wondering where he had been all my life and having read a few more of his books than Hayley and Jae who had been reading his stuff her entire life and was probably his biggest fan on the planet. I have a lot to say about her and her experience in line, but I will save it. Let’s just say there were a lot of tears and that it was quite a sight to see. It is a magical thing seeing someone meet their favorite author.

Oh ps. The first thing he cleared up (at his Q&A that morning) is how to pronounce his name. It’s GAY-men, in case anyone was wondering. I sure was.

The girl in front of us in line had a stack of seven books, all with labels dictating who they were to be signed to. I could not get over her nerve. We were in the front half of the line and it took us an hour to get to him, and there were twice as many people still waiting behind us, why would she think it was ok to bring seven books? To my shock and amazement, when we got up to his table, Neil Gaiman signed each and every one of her books with a smile on his face. How utterly awesome.


This is Jae getting her book back. I love this picture, pretty awesome if I do say so myself.


This is me. Is it ridiculous that I was so awestruck that I don’t remember a single word he said to me?

Needless to say, Neil Gaiman is now one of my favorite authors. I have read The Graveyard Book, Coraline, Sandman (only the first one so far), The Dangerous Alphabet, Blueberry Girl and the first part of Stardust before school got in the way. I got a whole slew of his other books for my birthday, so guess what I am doing this summer?? That’s right!

“If you dare nothing, then when they say is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”
~Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book


If you were wondering what the title has to do with the blog, here it is. "Oh the cleverness of me" = Peter Pan = live action Captian Hook = Jason Isaacs = Lucius Malfoy = Harry Potter = Severus Snape = Alan Rickman = reminds me of Neil Gaiman. There.


foobella said...

Maria. You had me at "saddest boy in the world". Love it... Can't wait to read the rest of it... And I think you got it, babe. I'll be the first one in line (well, maybe after your mother and dad) for your book signing.

As for Neil. Love to hear about your experience. I love that picture of your friend, Jae. I love how Neil is giving her great eye contact. Sign of a good man.


DeeRoo said...

"Oh the cleverness of YOU!"
Daddy and I loved reading about your meeting with Mr. Gaiman since you wouldn't tell us wanting to save it for this was worth the wait.
Totally agree with Foo..."I think you got it, babe" and "good man"!:)

DeeRoo said...

I forgot to tell you...I love the pictures you put with your blogs....really help tell the story.