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Neil Gaiman is just what everyone who has been to a signing says he is
- only about the sweetest most brilliant person on earth. When he
walks into the press conference area in the British Council, a mixture
of awe and disbelief hangs in the air for a good half-minute before
the bevy of fans, conveniently disguised as reporters, remember to
breathe. Wearing an all-black ensemble of a t-shirt, jeans, sunglasses
and his somewhat legendary jacket, Neil Gaiman looks like he has just
stepped out of the author photograph on Coraline's dustcover, only
fresher and less mop-like than one would have imagined. He sits
comfortably cross-legged; perhaps his charm lies in his witty, almost
conversational discourse, with the ease and earnest of a very old
friend. Perhaps it is his elevated rockstar status, leather-jacketed
and complete with shades, adored to the point he is almost a god. It
is unanimous but unspoken - this is the stuff that dreams are made of.

As much as his epic comic masterpiece the Sandman gained him a
substantial amount of fame, spanning seventy-five issues and spawning
a world-wide following, Neil Gaiman has crossed genres and media,
writing children's literature, horror stories and screenplays, and of
late, directing movies. His works have won numerous awards, among
which are the Will Eisner for his achievements in the Sandman, the
Hugo and the Nebula for American Gods, and another Hugo for Coraline.

When asked about his feelings on being dubbed Neil 'Sandman' Gaiman,
he quips "What's weird is more and more these days I get Neil
'Coraline' Gaiman.  I'm sure next year I'll be Neil 'Anansi Boys'
Gaiman". The Anansi Boys, his latest endeavour, will be out late
September, a novel following the death of Mr. Nancy, a character in
his best-selling American Gods. Good Omens, a collaborative work
between him and Terry Pratchett, saw his following expand further, and
he notes bemused that "there's sort of vague cultural meme about that
book that's now heading into the world which is the idea that what
obviously happened was that I wrote an incredibly dark and serious
book and Terry walked behind me putting in jokes." Although he has
enjoys immense popularity as a adult fiction novellist, he is also
well-loved for his children's books, Coraline, The Day I Swapped My
Dad For Two Goldfish, and the Wolves In The Walls. His works have been
a basis for many productions, currently the Wolves in the Walls is
being made into an opera and an movie adaptation of Coraline is being

With regards to movies and screenwriting, Gaiman has been in the
business for some time. He wrote the English screenplay for Hayao
Mizyazaki's Mononoke Hime, the Neverwhere TV series upon which his
novel Neverwhere was based on, and has written treatments for a number
of his works, including a movie adaption for Good Omens with Terry
Pratchett in the early '90s, which was "one of those horrible
Hollywood experiences they joke about". "There was an article in the
Hollywood Reporter ... saying I had more things bought and not made in
Hollywood than any other living author" he says, but he remains
sanguine about it, likening Hollywood productions  to the English bus
system "if you wait for a really long time then three of them come
together".  Recently, his relationship with the screen has looked up,
with the imminent limited release of Mirrormask, a joint effort of his
and long-time friend and artist Dave McKean, and Gaiman's involvement
in screen-versions of Beowulf and Coraline.

Though his prose has won him legions of fans and a fair number of
awards, he has not forgotten his love for comics, returning to the
industry with Endless Nights, an anthology of stories about the
Endless, featured in the Sandman, and Marvel's 1602. Of the latter, he
remarks candidly that he has received strange reviews like "well if
anyone else had written this it would have been brilliant" analysing
the vast disparity between it and the Sandman. This critique concerns
him little as the variation was intentional, the way his next Marvel
project would be similarly unlike 1602.

Neil Gaiman speaks affectionately of the English contributors to
American Comic Book Revolution, particularly "the amazing Alan Moore
who is very huge and very hairy and very funny and not at all scary",
describing American comics of 1986 and 1987 as imitations weaned
solely on comics "like when you photocopy something and you photocopy
that photocopy and you photocopy it again and you head into a grey
sheet of paper". The English authors, however discussed things like
Victorian writers and "weird London georgraphy". "It's like we had a
bunch of strange cultural reference and this peculiar god-given
mission to somehow try and create art using superheros and full colour
american comics, which looking back on it was madness, pure madness. I
had no idea why we did it and we're very sorry."

Were gods half this affable, this charismatic in real life, religion
would be a whole lot easier to believe in.
2:22 in the morning and I can't sleep. I guess it serves me right, for forming all these terrible, terrible habits - nocturnal inactivity, general laziness, the inability to actually complete anything I start. It builds steadily, back when I was twelve, fifteen, twenty, staying up late re-arranging myself in bed futilely or fucking about online, or occasionally actually <i>doing things</i> (here I summon that one time I wrote a bit of a musical, and uh, I guess that's mostly it huh :() are so much more admissible when you don't have grown-up responsibilities you must be awake and functioning in the morning for. Goddamnit.

I have made third-quarter-year resolutions, though! Mainly, to finish things I start, and resist the impulse to open a bunch of links and do the intellectual equivalent of fidgeting only with windows. And! NOT. TO. FACEBOOK. I can afford to scroll through it pointlessly maybe once a day, and once that window's closed IT IS CLOSED THANKS THAT IS ALL. Mm mm, and the other thing I mean to do - timeline goals/stages of completion and begin with writing all that down.

Sometimes I wish I was less restless, or that I wanted a bit less or a bit more - either way I feel like I come up short and I get all antsy the undefined immensity of everything I want to do/accomplish/be. I want to write and shoot and read and spend every hour of my life with baby and go out and walk and be alone and have coffee and work and cook things learn things, have proper date nights with my husband and lounge about watching movies and eat everything delicious with people I love and get all the chores I need to get done too and contribute meaningfully to household finances and have more babies and a house overlooking a lake with our own woods and a sill to sit on to think or read while having coffee. I want to spend significant portions of my lifetime learning to do what I love, and then learning how to do what I love <i>well</i>, but first I want to learn what I love and how to go about that for starters.

Man. Being a grown-up is kind of ridiculous - it would be easier, I think, if not knowing what to do with our small, finite lives, was something that only afflicted us when we were grumpy teenagers or freewheeling-ly selfish young adults. Strap a baby to your back (without even talking about how it gets there) and worry about feeding it and suddenly you feel it violently - how short life is, how much you love, how much you need to be a person, and most of all how much more you want, now that you have it all. 
Tonight I sit alone with a decent enough bottle of Cab Sav, the wine of my marriage, all on my lonesome getting more than tipsy and wondering, as one does when one is alone, what it is I actually want to do with this brief spell I have on this side of living. It's a terrifying thought, but not more terrifying than mortality, which I can't really think about without being made sad or being left at a complete loss, although I do find it comforting that we're made of stars and I suppose when we're done with this we'll make other compounds or bodies and be involved with some kind of galactic spectacle. Why is there so much to do, so much I could possibly do, and so little time?

My baby Cerilene turns one this month, a too-quick promotion into toddler-dom - oh shit my baby's turning into a person. I think of this and I think yes, that is a life well-lived, making funny faces and sounds to a small maniacal bundle of incessant joy, and more bundles at a pace we can manage, please. And then there are things I want to do with this week, this month, this year, and the next and the next, that will become so difficult to manage with more babies than now that I can't honestly imagine my life at that point and plan for the shape I would like it to take. I have to believe that everything can be solved with organizational solutions, and plans that we plan for underneath other plans, but I do realize this is as fictitious as the notion of a life well-lived or that things will work themselves out in the end, or that we all find love and everything we need when we need it.
It hadn't occurred to me before, not seriously anyway, the thought of throwing in the towel stepping off a building leaving and never ever coming back. When Cece cries it bores into your brain, and echoes madly until you forget the sound or the thought of anything else, especially if she doesn't stop crying for hours. I look around at this house too-small with baby-crap everywhere, this housewomanly bullshit I am failing at so spectacularly, and all of everything that I need to have done yesterday, the endless list of things I want to/have to do that simply aren't happening. She doesn't cry she howls, and it is the sound of my failure and the life getting sucked out of me and my husband's rage as he wakes up and it feels like it's all my fault - you're her mom, she's your baby, for god's sake make her stop. The most desperate, shameful moment, I think of covering her mouth just so she'd be quiet for a while and then I think of all the parents who have accidentally killed their babies, driven insane, seized by the thought for just a second, and I feel like the worst mother in the world, but also small and empty at the same time, like a baby who has pulled off her diapers and pooped in her bed and has upset everything in the living room amidst the parental hustle and the ceaseless crying, alone and helpless, up all night barely able to breathe from screaming too hard AND THERE'S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG.

We are not so different, you and I, you, and extension of my being in that I love you like none other and I would do anything for you, as I seem to do pretty regularly, and I as your general service arm and source of entertainment, validation and needs-fulfillment. Sometimes life is hard on us both, hard on us all, and sometimes it just takes so little - the ash in the air stinging my eyes, goddamn slash-and-burn cultivators, everything needs to be done done done, pointless volunteer work politics (I MEAN REALLY?!), an angry man in my bed, most of all a tiny shrieking person good god


What I would like, more than anything else, would be to live a life that's of interest. Sure, I have a shrieking baby and a husband that is A++++ and excellent... is about as far as I got the last time I tried to write anything vaguely archival, strung into sensible enough sentences to comprise the first real entry in ages, but clearly laziness was too debilitating for that. Mm, it's hard because I'm just so full of words and feelings, and when I start something I like to take my time with it and get it all down and then my baby cries or I get bored oh god it absolutely kills me. Now it strikes me that that is in fact bullshit - what I would like more than anything else would be some fucking organisation, for me to be able to clean my house and have it stay that way, and then get on the millions of things I mean to do which just accumulates in disgusting piles around me until it becomes one with my being and the squalor that accompanies my existence. It's my birthday and all I see is everything in my tiny, tiny house, I do try but I am so bad at it, following through, being motivated enough to do things I dislike and keep up with them, and then it just gets worse and worse and I'm wholly incapacitated and depressed in every moment that I'm not thoroughly content, cooing over my ridiculous child. She really is the one thing categorically excellent about my life right now, in every possible way, I've never been so happy, but when I'm alone with the hovel I live in, with all the things I want to do but don't because I lack firstly the willpower, secondly the process, and then maybe the time, and I feel so very small and worn out.

I'm a quarter of a century old, which is less dramatic than it sounds. I guess I'm an adult now - I mean look at my husband and baby, surely that ought to qualify me into proper grown-up-ness. I don't really know what to do with myself at all, I don't know how it is possible for things to get done, and then stay done. I don't know how to be alone and what to do with myself, outside of anything to do with Cece. Jesus, I don't know how I could have been happy before, before I had my baby, but she is my darling and I am the luckiest.

I'm terrible on birthdays. Birthdays make me think of how much I am not doing with my life, what I am failing at, and how after another fucking year nothing has changed and I'm still at odds with myself. I'm especially bad at being happy on birthdays - I'm a happy person, don't get me wrong, but I'm just the sourest birthday girl in the world, and I think I've been this way since I was a child. Back then I think I was unhappy because I didn't feel like I was getting enough attention, even at parties held in my honor, and now that I'm older whatever I get always feels like too much. It's kind of like a really, really small wedding that continues forever, a slow-burning exhaustion that never wavers throughout the years, a smile you try to hold for too long. Less celebrating more living, that's for me, I think. God forbid we need a reason to eat, drink and get stuff, there's something canned and worn that bothers me about all this happy birthday-ing.

! is what this year has been like

Oh sweet Jesus - I've done this retrospective since I was fifteen and here I stand, almost a decade later, with far less time and resolve than ever before, and so, so much more in my life half of me doesn't really believe I'm going to finish this ever.

2012 In ReviewCollapse )
Am I really drinking a bottle of red wine on my own watching How I Met Your Mother thinking about John Cusack and that artless American we all would like to marry and that American whom I have married but isn't anything like any of those brunettes but is instead a mousy blonde unlike most of everyone you've met with their Italian blood and sort of shortness but even then their measure of attractiveness that could never measure up to your beautiful blond boy who has jumped a continent for you and your child (whom, depending on her mood, is up to 70% like you according to your dad) and he, he is only the sweetest man in the world and he could have anything only he has chosen you and your god-forsaken spit of land?!

but I do, do love him, and the gorgeous green eyes he has given our child - Cerilene is lovely like no other and also hilarious and is also everything I want to do, everything I want to have in my life and more, oh for god's sake if it's just me and my husband and my child I couldn't ask for more

As much as I don't admit it, how much of HIMYM is exactly how I wished my life would be, with utterly intoxicating!) and interesting men but most of all this boy this man who has given up everything for me, everything EVERYTHING he has ever wanted, to be with me in Singapore, which is oh-so-fucking-small, just so that he may know what I'm like really and everything that has made me be the way I am, god this boy, oh fuck that this man, oh fuck that my husband, this sheer madness that I do not in any way deserve (remember those nights, drunk and lonesome in Union Square, trying to find your way home but the irresistible compulsion that found you up in Harlem at three in the morning being fucking unrelentless* at three or six or eight in the morning, loving some man you met in a Karoke bar in Alphabet City on the biggest snowstorm in 2011 and your life is different and your life is so much more

I couldn't be happier about being married (to the only guy in the world I would be married to) truly I am living the dream

(Dear Husband, I don't say this enough but how lucky I am, to be to be with you

*relentless or unrelenting was what I had meant, but twelve hours later I am thoroughly impressed that I managed to be otherwise quite precise. Unlike the glorious projectile display that swiftly followed this entry and repeated itself many times over the next three hours, a thoroughly mediocre showing in the realm of drunken vomiting on my part - perhaps I am mellowing

An update that can't begin to say enough

This weekend I move out, but that's not even the half of it - this weekend I move out of my parents' house with my husband that I acquired this year and the baby I co-produced after moving back to Singapore from New York for our child's delivery and early childhood. I guess that covers the important factual developments - apart from that I have no way of talking about it, everything, everything changing, not in a reasonable number of words anyway, and much besides I have a house to pack up and a baby to be interrupted by.

Things are excellent, if surprising, if shockingly disbelievingly good and different, far more so than I could have imagined. I just didn't think I would be one of those girls, young and married and reproducing, and the most perplexing of these being married. No, the most perplexing of all, enjoying it.
I think I've outgrown a lot of things that I used to identify with - I don't know how the past two years have changed me, apart from how they clearly have made some pretty substantial alterations to both my temperament and my life from here on out. I find myself quieter and less sure, and to some degree, less in my head. The incessant barrage of enthused babbling, loving everything living out loud, has dwindled into something far less manic. Constant wonderment and excitement may be more suited to younger, more wide-eyed youth, or perhaps those with lives less defined with less shape in the years mapped out before them.

And yet I can't shake the feeling that as much as things have been carved out for me, within definite, if broad, limits, there is so much that shifts and slides even more than before; if anything my life is more wide open than it had been at six or seventeen, or twenty-two, for that matter, about to dive into a city I had never been to that I had loved for so long based on the nothing I knew about it but the absurd certainty that that would be where my life would begin.

I can't believe how far that got me, or the degree to which that became a fair estimation of what would follow, and more than that, how much it's been what I've always wanted, albeit in a strange, surprising version of this that I'm still not quite sure what to do with. I leave New York in two weeks; I can't say I'm not leaving anything behind but I can say I'm taking everything that's important with me, I don't know how I came to be so lucky.
Right, I swear I've tried to complete an entry at least eight times this year, and while I put in a pretty good showing in starting this same entry, my follow-through is absolutely abysmal. This time, however, we will get there, as much as this may be the most cryptic and least informative post in this history of this journal (no mean feat considering the adolescent wandering and wangsting at nothing in particular).

So anyway, this adulthood gig - still twenty-three currently, but I feel like I already am, or am about to become, the oldest twenty-three year-old ever, or at least the oldest twenty-three-year-old I'm personally well-acquainted with. So my life is on in a big, big rather terrifying way - monumental life-change, etc etc, things I didn't expect at all a year ago; 2012 the shit is on. As much as I try to assemble this into something I can process and understand I do nothing but fall short repeatedly. I think I've half resigned to the fact it will only dawn on me when it's hitting me in the face, with everything I had known to be my life whipping past me long after it had flickered out of existence (only I was too distracted to notice at the time) leaving a heaving behemoth of a completely new creature in front of me, curiously small and strange and impossible to fathom presently or ever.